Navjot Singh Sidhu gets 1-year jail term in 1988 road rage case

Sidhu has been ordered to surrender before the Patiala court to serve the sentence

FPJ BureauUpdated: Thursday, May 19, 2022, 11:29 PM IST
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Former Congress Punjab President Navjot Singh Sidhu | PTI

NEW DELHI: Cricketer-turned-TV personality and politician Navjot Singh Sidhu (58) was on Thursday sentenced to one year of rigorous imprisonment by the Supreme Court in a 34-year-old road rage case in which a person had died.

The family of the deceased had asked for a review of a 2018 order of the Supreme Court acquitting Sidhu of murder charges and imposing Rs 1,000 fine on him.

RECAP: The deceased, Gurnam Singh, while driving his Maruti car, did not give the right of way because of which a livid Navjot Sidhu stepped out of his vehicle, pulled out the deceased from his car and inflicted fist blows; even the car keys of the deceased were removed by Navjot before fleeing from the scene with an accomplice. Gurnam was taken to hospital in a rickshaw where the doctors declared him as dead.

The trial court acquitted both Sidhu and his accomplice, noting that the death was not caused by subdural haemorrhage but because of the sudden cardiac arrest.

The state government and the complainant moved the Punjab and Haryana High Court through separate appeal. The High Court convicted Sidhu in 2006 of culpable homicide and sentenced him to three years in jail.

The Supreme Court, however, overturned the HC ruling and asked Sidhu to cough up a fine of Rs 1,000, "since the incident was 30 years old at the time, there was no enmity between parties and no weapon was used."

It also took into account that Sidhu was an international cricketer and a celebrity at the time of the incident.

The Apex Court judgment on Thursday said: "We believe that the indulgence was not required at the stage of sentencing by only imposing a fine and letting the respondent go without any imposition of sentence.’’

However, the Bench of Justices A M Khanwilkar and S K Kaul rejected the plea to slap the charge of culpable homicide not amounting to murder under Section 304A of the IPC.

Sidhu has been ordered to surrender before the Patiala court to serve the sentence.

Sidhu can file a curative petition before the top court but he has little grounds to use this option, as there is no question of law which has been left unaddressed by the court. A curative petition is filed after a review plea against the final conviction is dismissed or exhausted. The petition has two objectives -- to avoid miscarriage of justice and to prevent abuse of process. This petition is usually decided by judges in the chamber, unless a specific request for an open-court hearing is allowed.

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