The Supreme Court sentenced former Punjab Congress president Navjot Singh Sidhu to one year in prison on Thursday in a three-decade-old road rage case in which one person died.
However, a bench of Justices A M Khanwilkar and S K Kaul rejected Sidhu's request to charge him with culpable homicide not amounting to murder under Section 304A of the IPC.
Following an altercation, Sidhu and one of his associates, Rupinder Singh Sandhu, allegedly hit one Gurnam Singh on the head on December 27, 1988. Gurnam Singh died later.
The cricketer-turned-politician accepted the Supreme Court's decision, tweeting, "Will submit to the majesty of law..." In 2018, the Supreme Court convicted Sidhu of "voluntarily causing hurt," but acquitted him of culpable homicide charges. The court then spared him jail time and only fined him Rs 1,000. It also acquitted Sidhu's associate in the case, Rupinder Singh Sandhu. "... we believe there is an error on the face of the record... As a result, we granted the review application on the issue of the sentence. In addition to the fine, we believe it is appropriate to impose a one-year prison sentence...," the Supreme Court bench said while announcing the verdict.
In September 2018, the Supreme Court agreed to hear a review petition filed by the deceased's family members.
The case has been heard in session court, high court, and the Supreme Court. The Sessions Court Judge of Patiala acquitted Sidhu and his associate on September 22, 1999, citing a lack of evidence in the case and granting the benefit of the doubt.
It was then challenged by the victims' families in front of the Punjab and Haryana high court, which convicted and sentenced Sidhu and Sandhu to three years in prison and fined them Rs 1 lakh each in 2006. Sidhu then filed an appeal with the Supreme Court, contesting the order.
The prosecution claims that Sidhu and Sandhu were in a Gypsy parked in the middle of a road near Patiala's Sheranwala Gate Crossing on December 27, 1988, when the victim and two others were on their way to the bank to withdraw money.When they arrived at the crossing, Gurnam Singh, driving a Maruti car, allegedly discovered the Gypsy in the middle of the road and asked the occupants, Sidhu and Sandhu, to remove it. This resulted in heated exchanges.