Navjot Singh Sidhu has been handed a one-year prison sentence by the Supreme Court of India which was reviewing a case involving the former India batter in 1988 in which one Gurnam Singh died.
The verdict was announced on Thursday by the two-judge bench comprising Justices A. M. Khanwilkar and Sanjay Kishan Kaul which was reviewing its own order from 2018 when the court had reduced Sidhu’s sentence from three years’ imprisonment to INR 1000 fine.
“We have allowed review application on the issue of sentence,” the court said on Friday, according to legal media website livelaw.in. “In addition to fine imposed, we impose a sentence of imprisonment of one year to be undergone by respondent 1(Sidhu).”
The incident took place on December 27, 1988 in the north Indian city of Patiala in Punjab when Sidhu pulled Gurnam, who was 65 years old, out of his vehicle and assaulted him physically with his fists.
According to livelaw.in, Justice Kaul was also part of the two-judge bench in 2018, along with Justice J Chelameshwar, which had acquitted Sidhu of culpabale homicide. However, four years ago, the court did find Sidhu guilty of “voluntarily causing hurt” to Gurnam.
The court back then had reversed the judgment of the Punjab and Haryana High Court, which in 2006 had found Sidhu guilty of culpable homicide and sentenced him to three years’ imprisonment. The Supreme Court bench, though, thought the High Court’s verdict was based on conjecture and not pure evidence.
“…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,” Justice Chelameshwar had said, according to livelaw.in, “We, therefore, find it difficult to sustain the conviction of the first accused and set aside the same. Because to find a man guilty of culpable homicide, the basic fact required to be es established is that the accused caused the death. But, as noticed above, the medical evidence is absolutely uncertain regarding the cause of death of Gurnam Singh.”