Supreme Court Seeks Response from Sidhu in 1988 Road Rage Case

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The Supreme Court has asked Punjab Congress president Navjot Singh Sidhu to respond within two weeks to a petition regarding the 1988 road rage death case. The petition argues that the established facts reveal a more serious offence than what Sidhu was held guilty of, and that a harsher sentence is necessary.

A bench of Justices A M Khanwilkar and S K Kaul stated that the court will decide on how to proceed after Sidhu files his response. The petition was filed by relatives of Gurnam Singh, who died in the road rage incident.

The petition seeks a review of the top court’s May 15, 2018 order, which set aside the Punjab and Haryana High Court order convicting Sidhu of culpable homicide and sentencing him to a three-year jail term. The Supreme Court had earlier issued notice in the matter, but “restricted to quantum of sentence”.

Senior Advocate Siddharth Luthra, appearing for the victim’s family, argued that there was an “error apparent on the face of the record” in the judgment holding Sidhu guilty of only causing hurt. He contended that if hurt has caused the death of the victim, the offence should be considered culpable homicide.

The bench stated that it cannot re-appreciate the evidence, as that would “mean reopening the entire case” and be “problematic”. However, it directed that the matter be listed after two weeks for further consideration.

Senior Advocate P Chidambaram, appearing for Sidhu, opposed the request and said that the notice was limited to the question of sentence. He argued that the court had already concluded that it was not a case where Sidhu caused the death of the victim.

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