NEW DELHI: In a major setback to the cricketer-turned-politician Navjot Singh Sidhu, the Supreme Court on Thursday sentenced him to one-year rigorous imprisonment with a fine of Rs 1000 in a three-decade-old road rage case.
Sidhu who till recently was the president of the Punjab Congress Committee was acquitted by the apex court in 2018 in the case.
The court had admitted a review petition by one Jaswinder Singh (now dead) through legal representative against its judgement that had reduced the punishment from three years to a fine Rs 1000.
It was a case of road rage that had taken place on December 27, 1988.
A double bench of Justices AM Khanwilkar and SK Kaul overturned the earlier judgement and observed “it cannot go like this and this has to stop someday”.
It may be noted that the Supreme Court bench had reserved the order in March this year.
“We have allowed the review application on issue of sentence. In addition to the fine impose, we impose of a sentence of one year to be undergone by the respondent”, the apex court ordered.
Prosecution had contended that on the fateful day in 1988, the accused and the appellant had entered into a heated argument over a vehicle that was reportedly parked in the middle of the road. The verbal argument had turned ugly with Sidhu allegedly hitting Gurnam Singh who was pronounced dead after being brought in a hospital.
Family members of the deceased had alleged that Sidhu had fled the spot after committing the crime.
Sidhu was acquitted by the trial court in 1999 on the ground that the victim had died due to cardiac arrest, not due to the injuries caused to him during the scuffle. The aggrieved family members had filed an appeal before the Punjab and Haryana High Court against the acquittal.
The high court found the accused guilty of culpable homicide not amounting to murder and had set aside the verdict of the trial court and awarded three years imprisonment a fine of Rs one lakh. Sidhu went into appeal and secured a stay from the top court in 2007 against the high court judgement.