The Hush Post: The Supreme Court has acquitted Punjab Tourism and Local Bodies Minister Navjot Singh Sidhu in the road rage case dating 30 years ago under Section 304 culpable homicide not amounting to murder. However, he has been convicted under Section 323 of the IPC and will have to pay a fine of Rs 1,000. Conviction under Section 323 of the IPC proves that he did beat up victim Gurnam Singh in a scuffle.
Under Section 323 of the IPC the punishment is for voluntarily causing hurt. This section says that whoever voluntarily causes hurt shall be punished with the imprisonment of a maximum of 1 year or fine of 1000 rupees or both.
This is of a lot of significance for Sidhu’s political career as he will continue to remain the MLA and minister. Co-aacused Rupinder Singh has also been acquitted.
The SC has pronounced that Sidhu has been exonerated of the culpability of the crime under Section 304. The judgment is on the appeal filed by Punjab cabinet minister Navjot Singh Sidhu in a 30-year old 1998 road rage case.
Sidhu had challenged the Punjab & Haryana High Court verdict convicting and sentencing him to three years imprisonment.
There were many within the Congress who were eyeing a cabinet berth if Sidhu was convicted. It comes as a big setback to all those. Even, SAD(B) and BJP both were gunning for him and were keenly looking forward to this decision.
The matter was before a Bench of Justices J. Chelameswar and Sanjay Kishan Kaul which had on April 18 reserved the verdict after hearing the arguments. The court had then reserved its verdict on the appeal filed by Rupinder Singh Sandhu, who along with Sidhu, was sentenced to three years in jail by the high court in the case.
Sidhu had argued that the findings of the Punjab & Haryana High Court court were based on “opinion” and not on medical evidence. He had also told the bench that there were ‘deficiencies’ in the medical evidence and the prosecution witnesses had given different statements on oath before the trial court.