Navjot Sidhu Sentenced to 1 Year Imprisonment: What Legal Options Does He Have?
In light of the SC's order, 34 years after the incident, what options does Navjot Sidhu have? Will he go to jail?
The Quint DAILY
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Erstwhile Punjab Congress Chief Navjot Singh Sidhu was on Thursday, 19 May, sentenced to one year in prison after the Supreme Court enhanced his sentence in a 1988 road rage case.
"Will submit to the majesty of law…" Sidhu tweeted soon after the court's pronouncement.
In light of the apex court's order on Thursday, 34 years after the incident, what options does Sidhu have? Will he go to jail?
Supreme Court's Decision is Final
Sidhu has stated publicly that he will abide by the Supreme Court's decision, which means he will need to surrender himself to undergo the sentence of one year's rigorous imprisonment.
He has no possibility of appeal or reconsideration of the judgment. The decision on Thursday was by the Supreme Court, which is the final court of appeal in the country.
This judgment was itself the result of a review of the Supreme Court's judgment in 2018, which had acquitted him of the charge of culpable homicide not amounting to murder (Section 304, IPC), and only fined him Rs 1,000 for his conviction under the charge of voluntarily causing hurt (Section 323).
There can be no review of a review, and therefore the decision of the Supreme Court is final.
What About a Curative Petition?
The apex court does allow for curative petitions to filed against a review decision, but this is only allowed in the limited circumstances prescribed in the Rupa Ashok Hurra vs Ashok Hurra judgment of the Supreme Court in 2002.
Curative petitions can be filed, according to the guidelines laid down in this judgment, if one party has not been given a chance to be heard or there has been some other violation of the principles of natural justice.
However, in the current case, Sidhu was given the chance to contest the plea for enhancement of sentence, with senior advocate Dr Abhishek Manu Singhvi representing him before the Supreme Court.
Therefore, Sidhu cannot opt to file a curative petition either. In other words, Sidhu has no option but to go to jail.
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