INDIA

Will submit to the majesty of law: Sidhu on SC order

Soon after the Supreme Court imposed a one-year jail term on him in a 1988 road rage case, former Punjab Congress chief Navjot Singh Sidhu said on Thursday he ‘will submit to the majesty of law’.

IMAGE: Congress leader Navjot Singh Sidhu in Patiala on Thursday. Photograph: ANI Photo

Sidhu was in Patiala to take part in a protest against inflation when the Supreme Court verdict came in.

‘Will submit to the majesty of law…,’ he said in a tweet.

A bench of Justices A M Khanwilkar and S K Kaul on Thursday allowed the review plea filed by the victim’s family on the issue of the sentence awarded to Sidhu.

Though the apex court had in May 2018 held Sidhu guilty of the offence of ‘voluntarily causing hurt’ to a 65-year-old man in the case, it spared him a jail term and imposed a fine of Rs 1,000.

 

‘…we feel there is an error apparent on the face of record…therefore, we have allowed the review application on the issue of sentence. In addition to the fine imposed, we consider it appropriate to impose a sentence of imprisonment for a period of one year…,’ the bench said while pronouncing the verdict.

When reporters sought his reaction on the verdict, Sidhu said, “No comments.”

The cricketer-turned-politician was at the residence of Congress leader Lal Singh in Patiala.

Later, he went to his own residence in Patiala.

The family of the victim, Gurnam Singh, thanked the Almighty after the verdict of the Supreme Court.

“We thank Baba Ji (Almighty). We had left it to Baba ji. Whatever Baba Ji has done is right,” said Parveen Kaur, daughter-in-law of Gurnam Singh.

Replying to a question, Kaur said, “We are satisfied with the verdict.”

The family resides at Ghalori village, 5 km from Patiala city.

Sabby Singh, the grandson of Gurnam Singh, also thanked God.

“We thank God,” said Singh.

Earlier in the day, Sidhu rode an elephant in Patiala to register a symbolic protest against rising prices of essential commodities.

Talking to reporters, he said the rise in inflation had hit the budget of the poor, farmers, labourers and middle class families.

‘Protest against inflation. Inflation devalues money of Farmers, Labourers, Middle class families, while earnings remain same. Cost of food, housing, transport & healthcare has increased by over 50%, reducing value of (Rs) 250 wage to less than (Rs) 150. Pushing crores (of) people into poverty,’ Sidhu said in another tweet.

Following the party’s drubbing in the five states that went to polls earlier this year, Congress chief Sonia Gandhi had asked the party chiefs there to resign.

The Congress appointed Amrinder Singh Raja Warring in place of Sidhu after its drubbing in the state assembly polls.

All India Congress Committee (AICC) in-charge of Punjab affairs Harish Chaudhary had recently written to party president Sonia Gandhi, seeking disciplinary action against Sidhu for trying to ‘portray himself above the party’.

In the letter dated April 23, Chaudhary had also forwarded a detailed note of Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee president Amrinder Singh Raja Warring regarding Sidhu’s ‘current activities’.

Warring in his note had highlighted Sidhu’s ‘parallel activities’ and his recent meetings with expelled leaders, including former MLA Surjit Singh Dhiman.

Sidhu, a former Bharatiya Janata Party MP, had switched over to the Congress ahead of the 2017 assembly polls. He was the man who was instrumental in Amarinder Singh’s exit as chief minister last year.

In 2004, Sidhu began his political innings by contesting the Lok Sabha elections on a BJP ticket from Amritsar, where he shifted his base from Patiala, and in his first election defeated Congress heavyweight R L Bhatia.

When he was in the BJP, Sidhu had frosty relations with the Badal family despite the Shiromani Akali Dal then being an ally of the BJP.

Later his ties with the BJP also turned cold when the party fielded senior leader Arun Jaitley from Amritsar in the 2014 Lok Sabha polls.

Though he was accommodated in the Rajya Sabha later, he quit the party to join the Congress.

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