Thursday, May 19, 2022

Supreme Court Enhances Sentence Of Navjot Sidhu To One Year

Read Judgment 

The Supreme Court on 19/05/2022 enhanced the sentence of Congress leader and former Indian Cricket team member Navjot Singh Sidhu to one year imprisonment in a 1988 road rage accident in which a 65-year old person named Gurnam Singh had died.

The Court allowed the review petition preferred by the family of victim Gurnam Singh against its 2018 Supreme Court verdict that had reduced the sentence of Navjot Singh Sidhu to Rs 1000 from 3 years imprisonment in the case.

A bench of Justices A. M. Khanwilkar and Sanjay Kishan Kaul pronounced the verdict to allow the review petition on the issue of sentence.

"W e have allowed review application on the issue of sentence. In addition to fine imposed, we impose a sentence of imprisonment of one year to be undergone by respondent 1(Sidhu)", Justice Kaul read out the operative part of the judgment.  

 In May 2018, a division bench comprising Justice J Chelameshwar (since retired) and Justice SK Kaul had held that the offence of Sidhu will not amount to "culpable offence not amounting to murder" punishable under Section 304 Part II of the Indian Penal Code and instead found him guilty for the offence of "voluntarily causing hurt" under Section 323 IPC.

"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", said Justice Chelameswar in the Judgment. In 2006, the Punjab and Haryana High Court had convicted him under Section 304-II IPC and sentenced him to 3 years imprisonment. Reversing the High Court's findings, the Supreme Court had held that the cause of death was not certain and hence the punishment for culpabe homicide could not be sustained. It found fault with the High Court for concluding that the cause of death was subdural haemorrhage and not cardiac arrest.

"...the conclusion of the High Court that Gurnam Singh's death is caused by subdural hemorrhage but not cardiac arrest, in our opinion, is not based on any evidence on record and is a pure conjecture. We,therefore, find it difficult to sustain the conviction of the first accused and set­aside the same. Because to find a man guilty of culpable homicide, the basic fact required to be established is that the accused caused the death. But, as noticed above, the medical evidence is absolutely uncertain regarding the cause ofdeath of Gurnam Singh", the judgment authored by Justice Chelameshwar had held.

Challenging the 2018 verdict which reduced Sidhu's punishment, the victim's family filed review petitions.

The incident occurred on December 27, 1988, at a traffic junction in Patiala, when a dispute relating to the right way of vehicles led to Sidhu pulling out the deceased from his vehicle and assualting him with fist blows.

Victim was a 65 year old person

While allowing the review, the Court noted that Sidhu was an international cricketer, who was tall and well built and aware of the force of a blow that even his hand would carry. 

"The blow was not inflicted on a person identically physically placed but a 65 year old person, more than double his age. Respondent No.1 cannot say that he did not know the effect of the blow or plead ignorance on this aspect.It is not as if someone has to remind him of the extent of the injury which could be caused by a blow inflicted by him. In the given circumstances, tempers may have been lost but then the consequences of the loss of temper must be borne", the bench observed.

No comments:

Post a Comment