The Supreme Court, in a historical judgment, has stayed the conviction of Navjot Singh Sidhu in a road rage case. It happened for the first time in the last 57 years that the Supreme Court has stayed stayed conviction and three-year jail term till further orders that was given by a lower court.
The SC order in this case will be proved as energy booster for both Sidhu and the BJP too. With this order, Sidhu may contest the Parliament bypolls again from Amritsar. Earlier, he himself vacated the seat he was convicted by the Punjab and Haryana High Court on December 1.
Now, the BJP’s central election committee has to now clear Sidhu’s name for the Lok Sabha bypolls.
However, the SC order cannot be challenged and it will be in force till the Supreme Court decides on his criminal appeal challenging the Punjab and Haryana High Court order holding him guilty on charges of culpable homicide. Later, the court may decide whether the high court order was correct or not in Sidhu case.
Earlier, the Punjab and Haryana High Court had convicted Sidhu in a road rage case in 1988 on December 1. The court sentenced him to three years of imprisonment and a fine of Rs 1 lakh on December 6, 2006.
The court said in its judgment that
it is not clear in the police FIR that who gave the blow to Gurnam Singh. The medical report does not say clearly that what was the cause of Gurnam Singh’s death whether it was a subdural haemarroage or heart attack.
Further, the court also recognized high moral standard showed by Sidhu by resigning from the post after his conviction.
For the BJP, the SC order was a kind of moral victory. BJP Spokesperson, Prakash Javadekar, said that
Justice has been done. With his record clear now, he can do what he likes and what the party decides for him.
However, some of the legal experts have said that the Supreme Court’s stay on the conviction might open a new way for criminals to appeal for stays on their convictions in order to contest elections.