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Supreme Court reopens 1988 road rage case against Navjot Singh Sidhu

The top court had acquitted the Punjab minister in May on charges of culpable homicide not amounting to murder.

In a setback for Congress leader Navjot Singh Sidhu, the Supreme Court on Wednesday decided to review its judgement in a 30-year-old road rage case against him, NDTV reported. The two-judge bench of Justices AM Khanwilkar and Sanjay Kishan Kaul sent him a notice asking him to explain why he should not receive harsher punishment.

The top court had acquitted the cricketer-turned-politician in May on charges of culpable homicide not amounting to murder but held him guilty of voluntarily causing hurt under Section 323 of the Indian Penal Code. He was fined Rs 1,000. The victim’s family moved the Supreme Court for a review of its judgment.

The case dates back to December 1988 when Sidhu allegedly beat up 65-year-old Gurnam Singh, who suffered injuries to the head and died of brain haemorrhage.

A trial court had acquitted Sidhu in September 1999, saying that the man had died following a heart attack. However, in December 2006, the Punjab and Haryana High Court convicted the politician and his accomplice for culpable homicide not amounting to murder. The court said it was not a premeditated murder, but sentenced Sidhu to three years in prison.

In May, the Supreme Court set aside the High Court order. A two-judge bench of the apex court said that the prosecution could not prove that Sidhu had caused Singh’s death. Incidentally, Justice Kaul was part of this bench, which was led by Justice J Chelameswar, who has since retired.

Sidhu is the tourism and cultural affairs minister in the Congress-led government in Punjab. He and his wife resigned from the Bharatiya Janata Party on September 14, 2016, and joined the Congress four months later.

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