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'Bandra court competent to try Salman'
January 21, 2004 17:51 IST
The Chief Metropolitan Magistrate today rejected the Maharashtra government's petition challenging the jurisdiction of Bandra magistrate to try the case against film actor Salman Khan for rash and negligent driving.
Chief Metropolitan Magistrate R D Gate ruled that Bandra magistrate was competent to conduct the trial, which is slated to begin on January 30. The state had filed a petition saying the Bandra magistrate was not competent to conduct the trial.
Salman had opposed the state's move, saying, "The state was trying to abuse the process of law and delay the trial." He pleaded through his lawyer Dipesh Mehta that the
state had not raised the jurisdiction issue when charges were framed against him on October 6 last year and also when the Supreme Court had directed the Bandra magistrate to try him. It was now challenging the jurisdiction of the trial court only to delay the trial.
The prosecution urged that Bandra magistrate S Y Sishode was not competent to conduct the trial as he had earlier recorded statements of three witnesses in this case. Under Section 164 of the Criminal Procedure Code, such a magistrate had to transfer the case
to other court for trial, he argued.
The actor pleaded that section 164 of CrPC did not put a ban on the magistrate to try the case himself. Besides, the Supreme Court had specifically ordered Bandra magistrate to
conduct the trial, he argued.
The Supreme Court had, on December 18, asked the court in Bandra to go ahead with the case and decide during the course of trial whether the charge of culpable homicide not amounting to murder was applicable to the actor or not.
The prosecution, however, raised objection in the trial court saying the same magistrate had earlier recorded statements of three witnesses. Section 164 (6) of CrPC provides that such a magistrate should refer the statements to another magistrate who is conducting the trial.
The Supreme Court gave a major reprieve to Salman Khan on December 18 by directing the Bandra magistrate to try him for charges excluding "culpable homicide not amounting to murder" in a hit-and-run case, which attracts 10 years in jail.
The apex court held that the sessions court order framing this charge and high court order quashing it were not tenable in law as this question could be decided at the stage of the
trial and not before.
On October 6, a magistrate framed 10 charges against Salman. The actor pleaded not guilty to all the charges framed against him under provisions of Indian Penal Code, the Motor Vehicles Act, and the Bombay Prohibition Act. The maximum punishment prescribed under law for these offences is two years.
Earlier, the Bombay high court had quashed the charge of culpable homicide framed by the sessions court and referred the case to the magistrate for trial. However, the Maharashtra government filed an appeal in the Supreme Court against the high court order.
Salman was arrested on September 28, 2002, after he ran his vehicle over people sleeping outside a bakery in Bandra, suburban Mumbai. One person was killed and four were injured. He was later released on bail.