Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh on Sunday said Local Bodies Minister Navjot Singh Sidhu will not resign from his Cabinet. In a statement issued Sunday, Amarinder was quoted saying that there was no question of asking Sidhu to quit. He was referring to the speculation that the minister may be asked to quit in view of the case against him in the Supreme Court. The Chief Minister pointed out that the Supreme Court had stayed Sidhu’s conviction in the road rage case in 2007 and was yet to pronounce its verdict on his petition challenging the High Court order. The question of the minister resigning, merely because the state government had repeated its stand of 30 years in the case before the Supreme Court, did not arise, he added.
“There was neither any impediment in Sidhu’s induction into the Cabinet or in his continuation now, in view of the stay on his conviction”, the CM was quoted saying. Under fire for his government’s stand in the apex court, the CM reiterated that his government could not have changed its stand in the court while expressing hope that the judge would take cognizance of Sidhu’s contribution to the society and the country in deciding the case.
Reacting to reports suggesting that the government had deliberately not supported the minister in the apex court, the Chief Minister pointed out unless the prosecution received new inputs, it was not legally possible for it to add a new element to its arguments. As the state prosecution, the government’s lawyers had stated a certain viewpoint in the trial court as well as the High Court, he noted, adding that, in the absence of any fresh evidence, there was no way of changing that stand before the Supreme Court.
From a legal viewpoint, the CM added, the prosecution was duty-bound to go by the facts and stick to the same. Taking a U-turn from the stand taken by the government in the trial and the High Court was not an option for the government, the statement said.