Breather for Navjot Sidhu; no jail for him in road rage case
New Delhi: Punjab minister Navjot Singh Sidhu will not have to go to jail as the Supreme Court held him guilty only of causing hurt and let him off with a fine of Rs 1,000. Co-accused Ravinder Singh Sandhu has been acquitted.
The Supreme Court reversed the Punjab and Haryana High Court verdict holding Sidhu guilty of culpable homicide not amounting to murder. The High Court had given him a three-year imprisonment.Despite a guilty verdict delivered by a Bench of Justice J Chelameswar and Justice Sanjay Kishan Kaul, Sidhu’s political career remains safe and he will not have to resign and he does not become ineligible to contest elections.
This is because of the fact that under Section 8 of the election law, a person becomes disqualified as a lawmaker and ineligible to contest elections only if he/she gets a jail term of two years or more.Meanwhile, Narvedinder Singh, son of victim Gurnam, refused to entertain any queries on Sidhu. He said their family needs sometime. He said, “Justice has been denied to us, but the court order is respected.”
According to the prosecution, Sidhu and co-convict Rupinder Singh Sandhu were allegedly present in a Gypsy parked near Sheranwala Gate crossing in Patiala on December 27, 1988, while Gurnam Singh was on his way to a bank in a Maruti car with two others.
As Gurnam asked the Gypsy occupants to give them way, the duo beat him up and fled. Gurnam was taken to a hospital, where he was declared dead.
Sidhu and Sandhu were initially tried for murder, but the trial court in September 1999 acquitted the cricketer-turned-politician. However, the HC reversed the verdict and held them guilty of culpable homicide not amounting to murder.
The HC gave them a three-year jail term and imposed a fine of Rs 1 lakh each. Sidhu was given bail in 2007 by the top court, which had also stayed his conviction to enable him to contest the Lok Sabha bypoll from Amritsar that was necessitated by his resignation following the conviction.