What is Navjot Singh Sidhu's 1988 road rage case | Jagran Explainer

In December 1988, Navjot Singh Sidhu and his friend Rupinder Singh Sandhu had allegedly thrashed a 65-year-old man - identified as Gurnam Singh of Patiala - after he asked them to remove their car from the middle of the road.

By Aalok Sensharma
Thu, 19 May 2022 06:21 PM IST
Minute Read
What is Navjot Singh Sidhu's 1988 road rage case | Jagran Explainer

New Delhi | Jagran News Desk: Congress leader Navjot Singh Sidhu on Thursday suffered a major setback after the Supreme Court sentenced him to one year of imprisonment in a road rage case that is three-decade-old. The order was delivered by a two-judge bench, which included Justice AM Khanwilkar and Justice Sanjay Kishan Kaul.

"We have allowed review application on the issue of sentence. In addition to the fine imposed, we impose a sentence of imprisonment of one year to be undergone by respondent Sidhu," the top court said.

Following the Supreme Court, Sidhu refused to comment on the matter in front of the reporters but later tweeted that he "will submit to the majesty of the law".

"Will submit to the majesty of law...," Sidhu said.

What's the three-decade-old case in which Sidhu has been sentenced to one year of imprisonment?

In December 1988, Sidhu and his friend Rupinder Singh Sandhu had allegedly thrashed a 65-year-old man - identified as Gurnam Singh of Patiala - after he asked them to remove their car from the middle of the road. Singh was later taken to a hospital, where he was declared dead.

The victim's family lodged a case against Sidhu and Sandhu. However, Sidhu and Sandhu got a breather from the sessions court of Patiala, which on September 22, 1999, acquitted them due to "lack of evidence".

However, the victim's family moved to higher courts. In 2002, an appeal was filed by the Punjab government in the Punjab and Haryana High Court, challenging the Patiala court order.

In December 2006, the High Court reversed the Patiala court verdict and found Sidhu and Sandhu guilty of culpable homicide. The court sentenced them to three years of imprisonment, but Sidhu and Sandhu were granted bail in 2007.

Later in 2007, the victim's family moved to the Supreme Court. Although Sidhu was found guilty, his friend Sandhu was acquitted by the court, which said there was no trustworthy evidence regarding his presence at the time of the offence in December 1988.

Meanwhile, Sidhu was found guilty of the offence of "voluntarily causing hurt" to Singh and a Rs 1,000 fine was imposed. Section 323 (punishment for voluntarily causing hurt) of the Indian Penal Code entails a maximum jail term of up to one year or with a fine which may extend to Rs 1,000 or both.

In September 2018, the top court agreed to examine a review plea filed by the victim's family members. "Issue notice restricted to quantum of sentence qua respondent no. 1 Navjot Singh Sidhu," it said.

In March 2022, Sidhu was found guilty and was sentenced to one-year rigorous imprisonment.

What victim's family said after the verdict?

The victim's family welcomed the decision and thanked the almighty. "We thank Baba Ji (Almighty). We had left it to Baba ji. Whatever Baba Ji has done is right," Singh's daughter-in-law Parveen Kaur said, as reported by news agency PTI.

Singh's family now resides in the Ghalori village, which is 5 km from Patiala.

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