In a surprising verdict, the Supreme Court (SC) stayed a High Court verdict convicting Navjot Singh Sidhu of third-degree murder of an old man in a fit of road rage and allowing him to contest in the by-election for the Amritsar constituency. A two judge panel “suspended” the “order of conviction.”
Therefore, technically, since Sidhu is not convicted pending hearing in the SC, he is eligible to contest in elections.
A jubilant Sidhu carried out by supporters looked like has just won an honorable victory beaming and making his pedestrian one-liners that seem to enthrall so many. What makes this judgment so strange is that only recently the SC had allowed prosecuting agencies to proceed with the case without authorization if they believed that the case had merit. It also castigated the police for inhuman treatment of prisoners and detainees and forced a police reforms throughout India. Now, with this stay of conviction it has unfortunately sent the message that a convicted criminal is allowed to contest in elections if he manages to obtain a stay.
The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) which prides itself as a “dharmic” party steeped in Hindu Dharma wants to use Sidhu for its campaigns in the upcoming Punjab elections. With such a position, their pointing accusatory fingers at corruption of Lalu Prasad Yadav, incompetence of Maulayam Singh Yadav, or democratic manipulation of Amar Singh is ludicrous.