Road rage case: Navjot Sidhu acquitted of culpable homicide, fined Rs 1000

Road rage case: Navjot Sidhu acquitted of culpable homicide, fined Rs 1000

While hearing today (May 15th) on the 1988 Road Rage case, the Supreme Court has reversed the High Court verdict, convicting Punjab Minister Navjot Singh Sidhu for deliberately causing a fine of Rs.1000 / -. A bench of Justices J Chelameswar and Sanjay Kishan Kaul will pronounce its verdict in the case around 10:30 am.

In December 1988, Sidhu had allegedly hit 65-year-old Gurnam Singh after getting into an altercation over a parking space in Patiala.

During the arguments in the Supreme court, senior advocate R S Cheema, representing Sidhu, had questioned the evidence brought on record regarding the cause of death of the victim and had also referred to the provisions of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) dealing with culpable homicide not amounting to murder.

On April 18, the apex court had reserved its judgement in the case in which Sidhu had claimed that evidence about the cause of death of the victim Gurnam Singh was contradictory and medical opinion on the issue was "vague".

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The apex court's verdict came on the appeal filed by Sidhu, who had quit the BJP and joined the Congress days before the Punjab Assembly elections past year, and Sandhu, challenging the high court's 2006 judgment convicting them. The Supreme Court exonerated the co-accused in the case of all charges.

It was on 27 December 1988 that Sidhu and his friend Rupinder Singh Sandhu bashed up Gurnam Singh on the road over a trivial auto parking feud.

The cricketer-turned-actor was granted bail by the SC after the Punjab and Haryana high court awarded him three years of imprisonment in the decade-old case. The victim was later taken to a hospital where he was declared dead.

A confirmation of the high court order would have led to the disqualification of Sidhu from the legislature and the government as per the Representation of the People Act. The division bench comprising Justices Mehtab Singh Gill and Baldev Singh also convicted accomplice Rupinder Singh Sandhu but suspended their sentences (three years imprisonment), during the pendency of their appeals in the Supreme Court. It had said that Gurnam Singh did not die of cardiac arrest but due to the injury on his temporal lobe.

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