Former Punjab Congress chief Navjot Singh Sidhu would have been disqualified from contesting elections for six years if the Supreme Court imposed more than two years or more jail term on him, a legal expert said. Soon after the Supreme Court imposed a one-year jail term on him in a 1988 road rage case, legal expert and former Lok Sabha secretary general P D T Achary told PTI “If the sentence was two years or more, then he would have been disqualified from contesting elections for six years.” He made the observation by citing Section 8 of the Representation of the People Act-1951 which deals with disqualification.
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.
A former BJP MP, Sidhu 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 the recent state Assembly Elections, the former cricketer lost the poll battle. The Congress appointed Amrinder Singh Raja Warring in place of Sidhu after its drubbing in the state assembly polls.
AICC incharge 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.
(With inputs from PTI)