The Supreme Court on Friday directed Congress leader Navjot Singh Sidhu to file a response to an application that sought harsher charges in his conviction in a 32-year-old road rage case, reported PTI.
In May 2018, the Supreme Court had set aside an order of the Punjab and Haryana High Court which had held Sidhu guilty of culpable homicide not amounting to murder and convicted him to three years in jail.
However, the Supreme Court had held Sidhu guilty of “voluntarily causing hurt” to a senior citizen and fined him Rs 1,000, but spared him the jail term.
In September 2018, the Supreme Court had agreed to hear a review petition filed by the family of deceased man. The court had issued a notice, saying that it would only hear arguments on the quantum of sentence, PTI reported. The matter came up for hearing on Friday.
Appearing for the family of the victim in the 1988 case, advocate Siddharth Luthra on Friday said that the petition seeks to expand the scope of the notice issued by the Supreme Court. Referring to a previous judgment by the court, Luthra said that a person who causes death cannot be punished in a category for an offence of causing hurt.
Advocate and Congress leader P Chidambaram, who appeared for Sidhu, opposed the application and said that by trying to expand the scope of the notice, the merits of the judgment were being “assailed”.
In response to Chidambaram’s objections, the bench said all aspects will be considered. The Supreme Court will hear the matter after two weeks.
Sidhu is the chief of Congress’ Punjab unit. Elections to the Punjab Assembly were held on February 20 and the results are due on March 10.
The road rage case
The case pertains to an incident which took place on December 27, 1988, according to PTI.
The prosecution had alleged that Sidhu and his aide Rupinder Singh Sandhu had parked their vehicle in the middle of a road near Patiala city’s Sheranwala Gate Crossing.
A man who was driving by, along with his family asked Sidhu and Sandhu to move their vehicle, leading to a heated row.
A trial court in September 1999 had acquitted Sidhu of all charges.
Reversing the verdict, the the Punjab and Haryana High Court, in December 2008, held Sidhu and Sandhu guilty of homicide not amounting to murder under Section 304 (II) of the Indian Penal Code and convicted them to three years in jail.