- Top court's latest order came on a review petition filed
- It is filed by the family of the man killed in the incident 20 years ago
- Supreme Court in May acquitted him with a paltry fine of Rs 1,000
Punjab Minister Navjot Singh Sidhu is facing the possibility of receiving harsher punishment in a road rage case, in which a man died 20 years ago. The minister was sentenced in the case four months ago, with a nominal fine of Rs 1,000. But the Supreme Court, which decided there was no evidence to prove that his alleged rash driving led to the death of the man, has now sent him a notice, asking him to show cause on why he should not receive harsher punishment.
The top court's order on Wednesday came after the family of the man who died filed a petition.The punishment in such cases is a fine and/or a one-year jail term.
"The issue notice is restricted to the quantum of sentence qua respondent no. 1 - Navjot Singh Sidhu," the two-judge bench of Justices AM Khanwilkar and Sanjay Kishan Kaul said.
In May, a bench of Justices J Chelameswar, who has since retired, and Sanjay Kishan Kaul sentenced the Congress leader with a fine. The order enabled the cricketer-turned-politician continue as a minister in the Punjab government.
Conviction in a criminal case, if less than two years, does not hamper political career.
On December 27, 1998, Mr Sidhu and his friend -- Rupinder Singh Sandhu - had entered into an argument with the victim, Gurnam Singh, over parking space in Patiala. The two allegedly dragged Mr Gurnam out of his car and hit him. He died soon after.
A trial court had discharged Mr Sidhu, but the Punjab and Haryana High Court held him guilty of culpable homicide in 2006 and sent him to jail for three years in the road rage case.
The cricketer-turned-politician and his friend then approached the Supreme Court. In 2007, the Supreme Court suspended Mr Sidhu's sentence and granted him bail. The suspended sentence enabled him to contest the Lok Sabha bypolls from Amritsar.
Earlier this year, a bench headed by Justices Chalemeswar and Sanjay Kishan Kaul let the two off with a fine of Rs 1,000, because "there was no evidence to prove that that the death was caused by the single blow" dealt by Mr Sidhu.