In setback for Punjab Tourism Minister Navjot Singh Sidhu, the Supreme Court has agreed to re-examine the sentence awarded by it to the cricketer-turned-politician in a 30-year-old road rage case.
The apex court had on May 15 set aside the Punjab & Haryana High Court order convicting him of culpable homicide and awarding him three-year jail term, but held him guilty of minor offence of causing hurt to a senior citizen and spared him of jail term. The Supreme Court had, however, imposed a fine of Rs 1,000 on Sidhu for the offence under Section 323 (voluntarily causing hurt) of the IPC.
A Bench of Justices AM Khanwilkar and Sanjay Kishan Kaul agreed to examine a review petition filed by family members of deceased Jaswinder Singh and issued notice to Sidhu in the case.
“Issue notice restricted to quantum of sentence qua respondent no. 1 — Navjot Singh Sidhu,” the Bench said in an order which was uploaded on the SC website on Wednesday.
A Bench of Justices J Chelameswar (since retired) and Kaul had on May 15 acquitted Sidhu’s aide and co-accused Rupinder Singh Sandhu of all charges.
It had said there was no trustworthy evidence regarding Sandhu's presence along with Sidhu at the time of the offence.
Despite conviction, Sidhu was not barred from electoral politics under the Representation of the People Act as the offence in which he was found guilty did not fall under the scheduled offence entailing disqualification.
Section 323 (punishment for voluntarily causing hurt) of the IPC entails a maximum jail term up to one year or with a fine which may extend to Rs 1,000 or both.
The apex court while allowing the appeals of Sidhu and Sandhu, had said the medical evidence was “absolutely uncertain” regarding the cause of death of victim Gurnam Singh.
“We find it difficult to sustain the conviction of the first accused (Sidhu) and set aside the same. Because to find a man guilty of culpable homicide, the basic fact required to be established is that the accused caused the death. But, as noticed, the medical evidence is absolutely uncertain regarding the cause of death of Gurnam Singh,” the earlier Bench had said.