1988 road rage case: SC asks Sidhu to respond to plea for punishment on charges for death

Sidhu asked the court not to punish him with a jail term due to his antecedents
Last Updated 25 February 2022, 12:27 IST

The Supreme Court on Friday sought a response from Punjab Congress chief Navjot Singh Sidhu on a plea by the kin of deceased that he should not have been convicted for merely an offence of causing hurt in case of death of the victim in 1988 road rage case.

A bench of Justices A M Khanwilkar and Sanjay Kishan Kaul gave two weeks time to Sidhu to file his response as to why he should not be punished for an offence of more serious category, which could lead to enhancement of punishment.

The court was hearing a review petition related its May 15, 2018 judgement, authored by Justice J Chelameswar (since retired), which spared Sidhu with just Rs 1000 fine in the case.

In his response to the September 11, 2018 notice issued on the point of sentence only, Sidhu asked the court not to punish him with a jail term due to his antecedents.

On Friday, senior advocate Siddharth Luthra, appearing for the victim Gurnam Singh's family, submitted that he has filed an application seeking enlargement of the scope of the notice issued.

He submitted that a blow was delivered on the victim, and the death due to cardiac arrest is not correct.

The plea said the 2018 judgment failed to consider the previous decision in the case of 'Richhpal Singh Meena vs Ghasi' (2014). In the said case, the top court considered the question of law, and was "of the view that when there is death of a human being, it may either be culpable homicide (amounting or not amounting to murder) or not culpable homicide. It was further held that “offences affecting life” are distinct from the “offence of hurt” and if hurt results in death, intended or unintended, the offence would fall within the category of an offence affecting life.

Senior advocate P Chidambaram, appearing for Sidhu, objected to the plea, saying the scope of review should not be enlarged or it would lead to re-examination of the judgement after four years in respect of the incident, which took place in 1988, especially when the notice was restricted.

The bench also told Luthra that he cannot keep expanding the scope of the notice.

However, the bench, said that since the notice was issued on circulation and not after hearing the parties, and there was a formal application by the victim, a response should be filed by Sidhu.

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(Published 25 February 2022, 10:30 IST)

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