Breaking: Navjot Singh Sidhu gets a year in jail in over three-decade-old road rage case

The Supreme Court Thursday enhanced the punishment for Congress leader Navjot Singh Sidhu in the 1988 road rage case and sentenced him to rigorous imprisonment for one year.

A bench of Justices A M Khanwilkar and S K Kaul allowed the plea filed by the kin of Gurnam Singh, who lost his life in the incident, seeking review of the top court’s 2018 order by which it had let him off with just a fine of Rs 1000.

The Punjab and Haryana High Court had convicted Sidhu of culpable homicide and sentenced him to a three-year jail term.

On May 15, 2018, an SC bench of Justices J Chelameswar and Kaul, however, set this aside and instead held Navjot Singh Sidhu guilty of the offence under section 323 (voluntarily causing hurt) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) and imposed only the fine. The SC said that Sidhu “cannot be held responsible for causing the death of Gurnam Singh. Therefore, the judgment under appeal is required to be set aside and is accordingly set aside”.

Seeking review of this, the family of the victim said there was an “error apparent on the face of the record” in the judgement holding him guilty only for causing hurt.

The incident dates back to December 27, 1988, when, according to the prosecution, Navjot Singh Sidhu and his friend Rupinder Sandhu were in a vehicle and had an altercation with Gurnam Singh, when he asked them to give way. Police claimed that Singh was beaten up by Sidhu, who later fled the scene. The victim was taken to a hospital, where he was declared dead.

Navjot Singh Sidhu and Sandhu were acquitted by the trial court in September 1999. But the High Court reversed this in December 2006. The duo challenged this in the Supreme Court. In 2007, the SC stayed the conviction pending a hearing on the appeal filed by Navjot Singh Sidhu and gave him bail.