File photo of Navjot Singh Sidhu. Photograph:( Zee News Network )
The Supreme Court on Tuesday convicted Punjab Tourism Minister Navjot Singh Sidhu for voluntarily causing hurt to a 65-year-old man but spared him a jail term in the 1988 road rage case and imposed a Rs 1,000 fine on him.
The bench found Sidhu guilty of voluntarily causing hurt (under Section 323 of the IPC) but acquitted him of the charge of culpable homicide not amounting to murder under Section 304. His co-accused Rupinder Singh Sandhu, te tourism minister in Punjab, was acquitted of all the charges.
A bench of Justices J Chelameswar and Sanjay Kishan Kaul was pronouncing judgment on an appeal filed by Sidhu against a December 2006 Punjab and Haryana High Court verdict convicting and sentencing him to three years in jail in a road rage case.
Besides Sidhu, the appeal was also filed by Sandhu, who was also given a three-year jail term by the high court. Sidhu and Sandhu were initially tried for murder but the trial court in September 1999 acquitted the duo.
The road rage incident dates back to December 27, 1988, when Sidhu had allegedly punched one 65-year-old Gurnam Singh in Punjab's Patiala, resulting in latter's death.
The sessions court acquitted Sidhu and Sandhu on September 22, 1999, due to lack of evidence.
The trial court had acquitted Sidhu, whereas the Punjab and Haryana High Court reversed his acquittal, convicting him under Section 304 Part II of the Indian Penal Code (IPC), for culpable homicide not amounting to murder.
The victim's family had appealed to the Supreme Court that earlier imprisonment sentence of three years given by the Punjab and Haryana High Court should be enhanced. However, the Punjab government appealed to the apex court to uphold three-year imprisonment.