Salman Khan Convicted and Jailed: What Lies Ahead for the Actor
Convicted in the 1998 blackbuck poaching case, Salman Khan has the legal recourse to opt out of jail if the judiciary agrees to his submissions.
Image: News18 Creative
New Delhi: Bollywood actor Salman Khan was convicted and sentenced to five years in jail in the 1998 blackbuck poaching case on Thursday. He was also fined Rs 10,000, while his co-actors Saif Ali Khan, Sonali Bendre, Tabu and Neelam Kothari were acquitted.
So far, Salman Khan has spent 18 days in Jodhpur Jail. He was arrested by the Forest Department on October 12, 1998 and the court had imprisoned him till October 17. When the trial court had pronounced 5-year imprisonment on April 10, 2006, Khan spent six days in jail. When the Sessions Court confirmed the sentence in Ghoda Farm case, Khan remained in jail from August 26 to 31, 2007.
However, Salman does have legal recourse to opt out of jail if the judiciary agrees to his submissions.
Khan has applied for bail in the Sessions Court, which will take up the plea at 10:30am on Friday. He can also appeal against his conviction in the Rajasthan High Court. The bail can be sought on the basis of continuous cooperation or the enormous amount of financial investments involved in his upcoming movies. Almost Rs 500 crore is at stake if his movies Race 3 and others are shelved at this point of time.
A similar instance holds in favour of Khan. In May 2015, the Bombay HC had granted interim bail to the actor in the hit-and-run case, hours after his conviction and sentencing by a sessions court judge. The bail was granted on the ground that the actor had not been supplied with a detailed and reasoned order.
A man was killed and four others were wounded when Khan's Toyota Land Cruiser ran over them while they were asleep on a pavement outside a bakery in suburban Bandra on September 28, 2002.
"The normal rule is that when an appeal is admitted and the sentence is under seven years, it (the sentence) is suspended. Why do you (prosecution) want to depart from this norm?" Justice Thipsay said, rejecting prosecution's contentions against the suspension of sentence.
The Supreme Court has delivered several judgments wherein it has reminded that the basic rule is bail and not jail.
One such instance came in State Of Rajasthan, Jaipur vs Balchand in which the apex court held that basic rule is bail, not jail, except where there are circumstances suggestive of “fleeing from justice or thwarting the course of justice or creating other troubles in the shape of repeating offences or intimidating witnesses and the like by the petitioner who seeks enlargement on bail from the court”.
This bail by the Sessions Court will also depend on the bail bond furnished, and also restrictions on travel if the court feels that course of justice may be hampered.
Khan now also has a period of 90 days to appeal against this judgment in the Rajasthan High Court. Khan’s primary contention in the case would be the acquittal on the basis of an earlier verdict which too found him innocent in a different case.
To recap, Justice Nirmaljit Kaur in an earlier case on Chinkara killing had acquitted Khan of all charges in Rajasthan High Court. Hence, there lies a possibility for this order to be struck down on appeal.
Justice Kaur had then noted that the place where the killing took place was never found, that the blood stains discovered did not match with that of the killed deer, the Chinkara carcass wasn't found, the weapon used for hunting was also not found and that even the vehicle examined did not corroborate the statement of the prosecution.
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