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1988 Road Rage Case: SC Grants Leave To File Review Petition Against Sentence Awarded To Navjot Singh Sidhu

The Supreme Court on Tuesday granted leave to file a review petition against the quantum of sentence awarded to cricketer-turned-politician Navjot Singh Sidhu in a 30-year-old road rage case.

The Bench comprising Justice AM Khanwilkar and Justice SK Kaul issued notice to Mr. Sidhu but clarified that it would be restricted to the quantum of sentence imposed on him.

The Apex Court had, in May this year, acquitted Mr. Sidhu from the charge of culpable homicide not amounting to murder under Section 304 of the Indian Penal Code, and had let him off with a fine of Rs. 1000.

“The net result of all the above discussion is that the first accused cannot be held to be responsible for causing the death of Gurnam Singh. Therefore, the judgment under appeal is required to be set aside and is accordingly set aside. The material on record leads us to the only possible conclusion that we can reach that the first accused voluntarily caused hurt to Gurnam Singh punishable under Section 323 IPC,” the Court had ruled.

On the question of sentence, the Court had noted that Section 323 stipulates a punishment of either imprisonment up to a year or fine up to Rs. 1000 or both. It then chose to impose fine, owing to the fact that “(i) the incident is 30 years old; (ii) there is no past enmity between the accused and the deceased; (iii) no weapon was used by the accused; and (iv) the background in which it happened”.

The judgment was passed by a Bench comprising Justice J. Chelameswar and Justice SK Kaul on an appeal filed by Mr. Sindhu challenging a December 2006 Punjab and Haryana High Court verdict convicting and sentencing him to three years in jail.

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