Blackbuck case: Revision petition against Salman Khan rejected
In a major relief to Bollywood actor Salman Khan, the Rajasthan High Court today rejected the revision petition filed against him by the state government in the 14-year-old Blackbuck poaching case.
With this decision, the High Court directed the lower court to initiate the trial in the matter, which has been pending since 4 years.
"A separate case had been registered against Khan by the forest department on October 15, 1998 under the Arms Act, mentioning that the arms used by him during poaching of the two Blackbucks at Kankani in the intervening night of October 1-2, had their licences expired and hence he had been using those arms illegally," Hastimal Saraswat, the counsel for Khan, told reporters here.
Upon this complaint, the Luni police registered a case against Khan under sections 3/25 and 27 of Arms Act, Saraswat said.
The trial in this matter continued for five-and-half years and out of 16 witnesses, 15 were tried, he said.
But in July 2006, a petition was filed by the prosecution regarding amendment in the charges under the Act against the Bollywood star in the court of Judicial Magistrate with the plea to extend the period of use of the arms by him.
"The court rejected this petition in the same month on the argument that the petition bear no valid ground for the amendment as in the mentioned period Khan had the valid license of his arms and that if the charges were amended, entire trial process will have to be initiated afresh, thereby taking more time in decision of the case," the counsel said.
Upon this, the state government filed a revision petition in the Rajasthan High Court in 2006 for the revision of the charges against Khan in the Arms Act.
"Here also we argued that already 15 witnesses have been tried in the case and that the prosecution had no valid ground for the amendment in the charges," said Saraswat.
Government advocate Mahipal Bishnoi said that the court observed that it has been a long time since the petition is pending and that there was no point in carrying it further.
"So the court rejected the petition filed by the government leaving it to the discretion of the lower court to resume the trial," Bishnoi said.
Saraswat said that with this decision of the court, the charges under the Arms Act against Khan will remain as it is.
Besides Salman, actors Saif Ali Khan, Sonali Bendre, Tabu and Neelam were accused of poaching two Blackbucks in the intervening night of October 1 and 2, 1998 in Kankani village near Jodhpur during the shooting of the film 'Hum Saath Saath Hain'.
It may be recalled that the High Court had revised the charges against the actors in December 2012.
In the fresh charges, Khan was charged with Section 9/51 of the Wildlife Protection Act and others including a local accused Dushyant Singh with sections 9/51, 9//52 of the same Act and section 149 of IPC.
Blackbuck is a protected animal and hunting or poaching of the same is a punishable offence under law.