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1988 road rage case: SC sentences Navjot Singh Sidhu to one-year jail

New Delhi, May 19, 2022- In a setback to former Punjab Congress chief Navjot Singh Sidhu, the Supreme Court on Thursday sentenced him to one-year in jail in a 1988 road rage case.

A bench headed by Justice A.M. Khanwilkar allowed the review petition by the family of victim Gurnam Singh against the top court’s 2018 verdict, which let off Sidhu with a mere Rs 1,000 fine. The top court enhanced the sentence to Sidhu to one year.

The top court said, “We have allowed a review application on the issue of sentence…we impose a sentence of imprisonment of one year to be undergone by the respondent…” The order in the matter will be uploaded later in the day.

On March 25, the Supreme Court reserved the verdict on a review petition seeking a direction to enhance the sentence awarded to Sidhu in the 1988 road rage case.

Senior advocate A.M. Singhvi, representing Sidhu, submitted before a bench headed by Justice A.M. Khanwilkar that sentence was a discretion of court and no interference could be done except in cases of death penalty, given in rarest of the rare and in the present case, and added there was no need to have a relook at the 2018 judgment.

“Appeal on adequacy of sentence should not be entertained. The state is not in appeal against the sentence and the victim cannot challenge the adequacy,” submitted Singhvi. He further added that there has been no allegation of lack of cooperation on the part of his client.

The bench, also comprising Justice Sanjay Kishan Kaul, noted that the issue before it was only whether despite the court having issued limited notice on (point of) sentence the provision under which sentence has been imposed needs to be looked at.

The bench reserved the judgment after hearing detailed arguments in the matter. The plea was filed by the kin of the deceased, Gurnam Singh seeking a relook on the 2018 judgment.

Senior advocate Sidharth Luthra, representing the victim’s family, submitted that the death due to cardiac arrest is not correct, and a blow was delivered on the victim. Singhvi vehemently argued that it was extremely doubtful that an injury, caused by a fist blow, could have led to the death.

Luthra argued that the 2018 judgment failed to consider the previous decision in the case of Richhpal Singh Meena vs Ghasi (2014). He added that, in this case, the top court was of the view that when there is death of a human being, it may either be culpable homicide (amounting or not amounting to murder) or not culpable homicide.  (Agency)

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