The Supreme Court on Friday issued the notice to Bollywood actor Salman Khan in `Chinkara poaching cases’ in which he was acquitted by the Rajasthan High Court, reversing the trial court’s order awarding five years sentence for the offense.
A Bench of Justices A.K. Sikri and N..V. Ramana issued the notice to Salman Khan while admitting an appeal filed by Rajasthan government seeking to quash the High Court judgment and seeking a direction to the actor to surrender in the court to serve the sentence of five years. The Bench without staying the High Court judgment said hearing in the appeal will be expedited.
On July 25 the High Court acquitted Salman Khan in the killing of two chinkaras in separate incidents. One of the animals was killed at Bhawad on Jodhpur’s outskirts on September 26, 1998, and the other at Ghoda Farms on September 28, 1998. Shooting for the film ‘Hum Saath Sath Hain’ was taking place at the time in the desert state. The trial court had awarded five-year imprisonment after holding him guilty of the poaching charges. However, Salman moved the Jodhpur bench of the High Court against his conviction. The state government also challenged the trial court’s order on different grounds. On July 25, the HC, while allowing Salman’s appeal, acquitted him of all charges and also dismissed the state government appeal for enhancing the sentence.
In the present SLP, Rajasthan government said the High Court had erred in acquitting the accused despite the fact that there was ample evidence for his prosecution and for awarding enhanced punishment. His acquittal had resulted in the miscarriage of justice, warranting interference by the apex court, the SLP said and prayed for quashing the HC verdict and to award enhanced punishment to the actor.
Rajasthan government pointed out that minor discrepancies in trial shall never dilute the entire prosecution case and the High Court had failed to see the entire circumstances which are proved beyond doubt against Salman Khan by the prosecution. Salman Khan’s conviction was based on material evidence which HC has turned down on hyper-technical issues which are unsustainable, it said and prayed for quashing the judgment and an interim stay of its operation.