Published: Tue, May 15, 2018
People | By Neil Grant

Supreme Court acquits Navjot Singh Sidhu in 1988 road rage case

Supreme Court acquits Navjot Singh Sidhu in 1988 road rage case

The Supreme Court will on Tuesday pronounce the judgement in 1988 road rage case involving Congress leader Navjot Singh Sidhu.

The Congress-led Punjab government had opposed the plea of Sidhu, who is a minister in the state government, for acquittal in the case and contended that there was no error in the HC verdict.

The court also acquitted the other accused, his cousin Rupinder Singh Sandhu, of all charges. A three-year sentence was passed to which the victim's family had appealed, asking for an enhancement of the order, while the Punjab government also appealed to the Supreme Court to uphold three-year jail term. The injured was taken to a hospital, where he was declared dead. A Board of Doctors had given its opinion attributing the cause of death of Gurnam Singh as head injury and cardiac condition. "Accused A1 (Navjot Singh Sidhu) had given a feisty blow to deceased Gurnam Singh leading to his death through brain haemorrhage".

Sidhu now has to only pay a fine of Rs 1,000 for voluntarily causing hurt under the Indian Penal Code.

Reversing the High Court ruling, the apex court acquitted him of the serious charge of culpable homicide in the 1988 case. Section 323 of IPC says whosoever voluntarily causes hurt, shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to one year, or with fine which may extend to one thousand rupees, or with both.

Sidhu, who quit the BJP and joined Congress before the previous Punjab assembly elections and is now the Tourism Minister of Punjab - and Sandhu were acquitted by the trial court in September 1999.

In 2007, the apex court had granted bail to Sidhu and stayed his conviction, enabling him to contest the Amritsar by-election, the same seat he had to vacate after being convicted by the trial court. Police claimed that Singh was beaten up by Sidhu who later fled the crime scene.

Sidhu quit the BJP in the run-up to Punjab elections after the party chose to contest Arun Jaitley from Amritsar.

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