Navjot Singh Sidhu surrenders as Supreme Court refuse to grant relief

The top court reversed its 2018 decision in a 34-year-old road rage case that had spared him a three-year jail term and had disposed of the case with just Rs 1,000 fine.

Former Congress Punjab President Navjot Singh Sidhu surrendered on Friday after he failed to get last-minute relief from the Supreme Court. This comes a day after the Supreme Court sentenced him to one-year imprisonment. Which was in a 34-year-old road rage case on May, 19.

The Supreme Court’s decision is a major setback for Sidhu’s nearly two-decade-long political career, which has been in a funk since he failed to retain the Amritsar East assembly seat in the 2022 Punjab assembly elections.

The Congress leader has no possibility of appealing the order. Because the Supreme Court’s decision was based on a review petition. And his imprisonment appears to be imminent. He requested the court for extra time to surrender on Friday.

Sidhu’s lawyer, Abhishek Manu Singhvi, petitioned the Supreme Court for an extension of time for Sidhu to surrender to the Patiala court for medical reasons, but the apex court denied it.

Road rage case of 1988

On the right of way in Punjab’s Patiala city, Sidhu got into a dispute with Gurnam Singh at the Batiawala Chowk traffic light point at 12:30 p.m. on December 27, 1988. According to the first information report (FIR) filed with the Kotwali police station, Sidhu dragged Gurnam Singh from his vehicle following a verbal altercation and inflicted fist blows on his head. Before exiting the scene, he snatched Gurnam Singh’s auto keys as well.

Gurnam Singh’s family member drove him in a rickshaw to the hospital, where the physicians declared him dead. In September 2018, the Supreme Court overturned a Punjab and Haryana court’s decision. Convicting him of culpable homicide and sentenced him to three years in prison. The lawsuit was dismissed by the Supreme Court with a fine of Rs 1,000.

The top court changed its 2018 ruling in response to a review petition. Submitted by the victim’s family, and “considered it appropriate” to sentence one year of harsh imprisonment.

The panel of Justice A.M. Khanwilkar and Justice Sanjay Kishan Kaul argued in a 24-page ruling that Sidhu, an international cricketer, was well aware of the force of a blow that would be carried by even his hand. As a result, the court ruled that he could not claim ignorance of the blow’s effect. Or plead ignorance on this point.

Sidhu has only served one day in jail in this matter. Since the Punjab and Haryana high court sentenced him to three years in prison on December 1, 2006. He surrendered to a Chandigarh court on January 11, 2007, and was sent to Patiala jail the same day. He was released from prison on January 13 when the Supreme Court granted him bail.

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