New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Thursday adjourned hearing on a plea seeking review of its May 15, 2018 verdict, letting off Congress leader Navjot Singh Sidhu with a mere Rs 1,000 fine in a 1988 road rage case where a Patiala resident had died, till after the February 20 Punjab Assembly elections.
A bench of Justices A.M. Khanwilkar and Sanjay Kishan Kaul cited a letter circulated by Sidhu’s counsel seeking adjournment in the matter.
Senior advocate P. Chidambaram, representing Sidhu, submitted that a new advocate on record has been engaged in the matter and he was informed of the matter late last night. As he urged the bench to list the matter for hearing after February 21, Justice Khanwilkar said there is a statement in the letter that the matter was listed unexpectedly, but it was already on the advanced list.
The bench queried Chidambaram: “You want adjournment till what date?”
He requested for four weeks adjournment in the matter. The bench told Chidambaram that the matter was notified much earlier, notice on review petitions were issued in September 2018, but the accused has not filed a reply so far.
Senior advocate Siddharth Luthra, representing the petitioner, said the other party was served in September and requested the bench to hear the matter after two weeks.
As Justice Kaul quipped: “Two weeks are crucial for him (Sidhu)”, the bench told Luthra: “You haven’t come since 2018 and now you want the matter to be heard after 2 weeks? Nothing will happen if the matter is not heard for 2 or 4 weeks.”
After a brief hearing in the matter, the top court scheduled the hearing in the matter on February 25.
In 2018, the top court had let off Sidhu saying there was no sufficient evidence to prove the harsher charges of culpable homicide not amounting to murder against him.
Sidhu was charged under Section 323 of the Indian Penal Code for voluntarily causing hurt, however he was let off with just a fine.
The top court, observing that the incident was more than 30 years old, there was no past hostility between accused and victim, and that no weapon was used by the accused, had set aside the Punjab and Haryana High Court order, which convicted Sidhu of culpable homicide not amounting to murder and sentenced him to three year jail.
The top court noted that Sidhu was wrongly convicted, after examining all evidence, including medical records.