Road rage case: Sidhu acquitted of culpable homicide, fined Rs 1,000 for ‘causing injury’

The Supreme Court on Tuesday set aside a lower court’s order and acquitted Punjab Congress minister Navjot Singh Sidhu of culpable homicide not amounting to murder in the 1988 Patiala Road Rage case.

However, the bench of Justices J Chelameswar and Sanjay Kishan Kaul found him guilty of causing simple injury and imposed a fine without any jail term. The cricketer-turned-politician has been convicted under Section 323 of Indian Penal Code which says whosoever voluntarily causes hurt, shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to one year, or with fine which may extend to one thousand rupees, or with both.

The court also acquitted Sidhu’s aide Rupinder Singh Sandhu in the case.

Earlier in April, the Congress government in Punjab has asked the Supreme Court to uphold Sidhu’s conviction in the decades-old case. The apex court had granted bail to the cricketer-turned-politician after he was sentenced to three years in prison by the Punjab and Haryana high court.

The victim’s family has appealed to the SC to enhance the three year jail time given by the lower court.

On December 27, 1988, Sidhu had allegedly hit 65-year-old Gurnam Singh after getting into an altercation with him in Patiala. Singh was rushed to a hospital, where he was declared dead.

 

A trial court had acquitted Sidhu in the case in which his friend Rupinder Singh Sandhu was a co-accused.

 

However, the Punjab and Haryana high court found the former cricketer guilty of culpable homicide not amounting to murder and overturned the trial court’s verdict.

 The division bench comprising Justices Mehtab Singh Gill and Baldev Singh also convicted accomplice Rupinder Singh Sandhu but suspended their sentences (three years imprisonment), during the pendency of their appeals in the Supreme Court. In 2007, the Supreme Court suspended Sidhu’s conviction to enable him to contest elections.