Terming as “bad in law” invoking of the charge of ‘culpable homicide not amounting to murder’ against him in the 2002 hit-and-run case, actor Salman Khan today sought its quashing by a sessions court which questioned whether it had the jurisdiction to hear his plea.
Salman has filed a revision application against the order of a Bandra magistrate, who invoked the serious charge of culpable homicide not amounting to murder (section 304 part II IPC), which is triable by the sessions court and attracts a maximum punishment of 10 years. He was tried by a magistrate under lesser charge of causing death by negligence (section 304 A IPC), that provides for a maximum punishment of two years years in prison.
Hearing the Bollywood star’s plea today, sessions judge A N Patil asked his lawyer Ashok Mundargi to convince him whether he had the jurisdiction to hear the application. The judge said since the magistrate had referred the case for trial by the sessions court, the Bombay High Court would have been the appropriate forum for filing the revision petition or appeal.
Salman’s lawyer argued that as the magistrate’s order was final and not interlocutory (interim), because he had invoked 304 part II after recording evidence of 17 witnesses, and found that a case of culpable homicide not amounting to murder was made against the actor, he had a remedy in law to move the sessions court with a revision application.
He could not have moved the sessions court had the magisterial court’s order been interlocutory as that was barred by statute, Mundargi contended. The sessions court deferred the arguments to March 8 to decide whether Salman’s application could be entertained. If the actor’s application is admitted, the court will decide on merit whether the more stringent charge of culpable homicide not amounting to murder could be invoked. In case the court rejects his plea, the actor would either have to face trial under the same charge in the sessions court or move a superior court in appeal.
Earlier in the day, Salman’s counsel had sought the film star’s exemption from appearance before sessions court on March 11 as directed by the magistrate. However, he did not press the plea later.