High court findings not based on medical records, Sidhu tells SC
Sidhu was acquitted of the murder charges by the trial court in September 1999.punjab Updated: Apr 18, 2018 14:54 IST
Punjab local bodies minister Navjot Singh Sidhu on Tuesday told the Supreme Court that the findings of the Punjab and Haryana high court, which had awarded him three-year jail in a 1988 road rage case, were based on “opinion” and not on medical evidence.
Sidhu, who had quit the BJP and joined the Congress days before the Punjab assembly election last year, told a bench of justices J Chelameswar and SK Kaul that there were “deficiencies” in the medical evidence and the prosecution witnesses had given different statements on oath before the trial court.
“The findings (of the high court) were based on opinion and not on medical evidence. There was no rationale for this kind of an opinion,” senior advocate RS Cheema, appearing for Sidhu, told the bench.
On April 12, the Captain Amarinder Singh government had favoured in the top court the high court’s verdict convicting and awarding the three-year jail term to Sidhu.
The former cricketer argued that there was “ambiguity” regarding the actual cause of death of Patiala resident Gurnam Singh, who had died after he was allegedly given a fist blow by Sidhu. Referring to statements of three prosecution witnesses before the trial court, Cheema said they had spoken in “different language”. He argued that a six-member board of medical experts was constituted to give their opinion on the cause of death, but some of them were not examined as witnesses in the case.
Cheema said two doctors, who were part of the board, were examined as witnesses in the case but the prosecution had not placed on record any material to show that there were deliberations among these experts regarding the cause of death. “The deficiencies in the medical evidence were writ large,” he said during the arguments which would continue on Wednesday.
Earlier, the counsel for the state had told the apex court that “the trial court verdict was rightly set aside by the high court. Accused (Navjot Singh Sidhu) had given fist blow to deceased Gurnam leading to his death through brain haemorrhage.
Sidhu was acquitted of the murder charges by the trial court in September 1999.
The HC reversed the verdict and held Sidhu and co-accused Rupinder Singh Sandhu guilty of culpable homicide not amounting to murder in December, 2006. In 2007, the apex court had stayed the conviction of Sidhu and Sandhu in the case, paving the way for him to contest the by-poll for the Amritsar Lok Sabha seat.