Supreme Court reopens 1988 road rage case against Navjot Singh Sidhu

Congress politician Navjot Singh Sidhu will have to face the music again. Following a review of the plea filed by the family of the deceased in the infamous 1988 road rage case, the Supreme Court has decided to review the case and decide the actual quantum of punishment for the ex cricketer.

A few months ago, the apex court had let off Sidhu on a minuscule sentence of 1 year with a fine of Rs. 1000, citing a lack of strong, credible evidence. However, following a review petition by the victim’s family, the court had the case reviewed and a new bench has sent a notice to Navjot Sidhu, asking as to why he should not receive a harsher punishment.

To quote the decision of the Supreme Court, who approved the review petition under the bench of Justice AM Khanwilkar and Justice Sanjay K Kaul, “Permission to file the Review Petition is granted. Delay condoned. Issue notice restricted to quantum of sentence qua respondent no. 1 – Navjot Singh Sidhu.”

For those unaware, here is a timeline of the actual events:-

1988 : Navjot Singh Sidhu and his friend Sandhu were driving a Gypsy in Patiala, which was parked in the middle of the road near Sheranwala Gate Crossing. Having proceeded to the bank to withdraw some money, Sidhu and Sandhu came out to receive Gurnam Singh, a passerby, who requested the duo to remove the gypsy, which led to heated exchanges between the two.

In a fit of rage, according to the police personnel, Navjot Singh Sidhu beat up Gurnam Singh really bad and fled the scene. Gurnam was taken to the hospital, where he succumbed to his injuries. Following detailed investigations, Sidhu was convicted both by the District Court and the Punjab & Haryana High Court, following which he appealed to the Supreme Court.

Interestingly, though Supreme Court may not review the judgment, they shall review the quantum of punishment as meted out to the tainted politician, which the victim’s family has found to be inadequate.  As of now, Sidhu is convicted under Section 323 for causing hurt for which the maximum punishment is a jail term of one year or a fine of Rs 1,000, or both.

For Navjot Singh Sidhu, this review petition can prove to be the final nail in the coffin of his political career. If fought successfully, he shall not only be convicted, but may also have to lose his position as an influential politician in the Congress party.

Already reeling with a low credibility post his atrocious statements against the majoritarian communities in Punjab during Christmas celebrations and his new found love for the Pakistani establishment, a conviction in the road rage case would only accelerate his downfall from the once ably talented cricketer he was. Only future will tell his fate well.

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