Written By Rishabh Singh.
NEW DELHI : The Supreme Court on Thursday sentenced former Punjab Congress president Navjot Singh Sidhu to one-year rigorous imprisonment in a three-decade old road rage case in which a person had died.
On December 27, 1988, Sidhu had allegedly hit one Gurnam Singh on his head following an altercation, leading to his death. However, a bench of Justices A M Khanwilkar and S K Kaul rejected the plea for imposing culpable homicide not amounting murder charge under Section 304A of IPC on Sidhu.
In 2018, the top court had convicted Sidhu for the offence of “voluntarily causing hurt”, but had acquitted him in connection with the culpable homicide charges. The court had then spared him a jail term and only imposed a fine of Rs 1,000. It had also acquitted Sidhu’s associate, Rupinder Singh Sandhu, in the case we feel there is an error apparent on the face of record … therefore, we have allowed the review application on the issue of sentence.
In addition to the fine imposed, we consider it appropriate to impose a sentence of imprisonment for a period of one year … ,” the SC bench said while pronouncing the verdict.
It was then challenged by the victim’s families before the Punjab and Haryana high court, which had in 2006, convicted and sentenced Sidhu and Sandhu to three years imprisonment and imposed a fine of Rs 1 lakh each on them. Sidhu then filed an appeal before the apex court challenging this order.
The 1988 road rage incident
According to the prosecution, Sidhu and Sandhu were in a Gypsy parked in the middle of a road near the Sheranwala Gate Crossing in Patiala on December 27, 1988, when the victim and two others were on their way to the bank to withdraw money.
When they reached the crossing, it was alleged, that Gurnam Singh, driving a Maruti car, found the Gypsy in the middle of the road and asked the occupants, Sidhu and Sandhu, to remove it. This led to heated exchanges.
(Rishabh is student of BA-JMC first year from Maharishi University Of Information Technology, Noida)