A sessions court today rejected the plea of a social activist seeking to intervene in the 2002 hit-and-run case allegedly involving actor Salman Khan to help the prosecution in the trial.
Judge S D Deshpande ruled that only an aggrieved party, complainant or witness had a right to intervene. In this case, the applicant, Santosh Daundkar, was neither a witness, complainant nor an aggrieved party. Hence, he could not be allowed to intervene, the court said. The court also rejected Daundkar’s another plea seeking transfer of his complaint from magistrate court to sessions court about perjury action against Salman and police for allegedly producing wrong witnesses in this case, as a result of which the trial was delayed. The judge held that he had no jurisdiction to transfer the complaint. He asked the applicant to approach a higher court or the Principal Judge of Sessions Court in this regard. On Salman’s plea for a direction to media to report true and fair proceedings of the 2002 hit-and-run case, the court deferred its order till October 15 saying the Bombay High Court was seized of this matter.
The court said that Salman had already moved the High Court by filing a defamation and civil suit against some media channels for allegedly not correctly reporting the proceedings of the case. As the matter was pending in High Court, the sessions court did not give any ruling on the actor’s plea. The judge observed the high court had already given an interim ruling that the media should provide a fair and objective reporting in the case involving the film star.
Salman’s lawyer Shrikant Shivade argued that the media was biased against the actor and was not reporting correctly the court proceedings. This had tarnished the image of Salman in the eyes of public, he alleged and urged the media be directed to report true and fair proceedings in the case. On October 15, the court would hear Salman‘s lawyer and prosecution on whether the trial should begin afresh or evidence adduced earlier by the Magistrate should be considered by the sessions court. Daundkar’s lawyers Aditya Pratap and Abha Singh argued that their client wanted to intervene in this case in public interest to help the prosecution. They said section 301(1) of CrPc allowed Daundkar to intervene in the matter to help the prosecution. The lawyers cited three Supreme Court judgements to support their arguments.
On the other hand, Salman‘s lawyer argued that Daundkar was a third party and could not intervene in the case. He cited nine judgements to argue his case. The prosecutor said he had no objection if Daundkar and his lawyers helped the prosecution. However, they had no right to examine the witnesses, he said. The court, however, rejected Daundkar’s plea saying that he was not an aggrieved party and was not concerned with the case. Hence, he had no right to intervene at this stage. But after the evidence is recorded, he may at the end of the trial urge the court to allow him intervene. As regards Daundkar’s plea for perjury action against Salman and police, his lawyers said that the Magistrate’s court at Bandra was inquiring into the matter. The lawyers argued that the inquiry should now be conducted by the sessions court because the hit-and-run case has been transferred from Magistrate’s court to sessions court after it was held that the charge of culpable homicide was made out against the actor.
The court rejected this plea also as the judge held that he was not empowered to decide this.