Bollywood actor Salman Khan may face fresh trouble with the Maharashtra government informing the Bombay high court on Wednesday that it has decided to challenge in the Supreme Court the verdict acquitting him of all charges in the 2002 hit-and-run case.The government told the high court of its decision to file a special leave petition (SLP) in the Supreme Court to appeal against the acquittal of Salman by Justice AR Joshi, who totally reversed the trial court’s judgement that sentenced the actor to five years’ imprisonment.
The law and judiciary department had accorded sanction to the prosecution to file an SLP in the Supreme Court, government pleader Abhinandan Vagyani told a bench of justices Abhay Oka and Gautam Patel.
The SLP would be filed in due course, Vagyani said during the hearing of a public interest litigation (PIL) filed by journalist Nikhil Wagle, seeking compensation from Salman Khan for victims of the 2002 hit-and-run case.
Justice A.R. Joshi on 10 December had acquitted Salman of all the charges on the ground that the prosecution had failed to prove that the actor was driving the car under the influence of alcohol. On 6 May, a sessions court had given a five-year sentence to the actor after it held him guilty of offences including culpable homicide not amounting to murder.
According to the prosecution’s case, on 28 September 2002, Salman rammed his car into a bakery in suburban Bandra, killing one person and injuring four others who were sleeping outside. Although the actor has already deposited compensation for the victims’ families as directed by the high court, Wagle’s petition is still being heard as the court expanded its scope to include the issue of enhancement of punishment in accident cases.
During the hearing of Wagle’s PIL on Wednesday, the high court framed some issues and sought an answer from the government. The bench wanted to know from the government pleader what type of devices were available with the authorities to hold blood analysis test of an accused in a hit-and-run case to determine consumption of alcohol.
The bench also sought to know within how much time is the blood test conducted in accident cases. To this, Vagyani replied that the first five to seven hours after any accident was the crucial period when ideally such examination is done, and it is also prescribed in the police manual, and the Drugs and Physcotrophic Substances Act.The high court, however, wanted to know whether there are any guidelines framed in this regard. The matter has been posted for hearing in January after the vacation.