HC defers Salman Khan case to July 1 as case papers not ready

HC defers Salman Khan case to July 1 as case papers not ready
HC defers Salman Khan case to July 1 as case papers not ready

Ordering expeditious completion of case papers, the Bombay High Court today adjourned till July 1 a criminal appeal filed by Bollywood superstar Salman Khan against his conviction in the hit-and-run case in which he has been awarded a five-year jail sentence.

When the case came up for hearing, Justice A R Joshi was informed by Salman’s lawyer Amit Desai that the ‘paper book’ (compilation of evidence and documents which is served to both the sides by the court) was not complete.

The judge then ordered that this task should be expeditiously completed and deferred the matter till July 1.

On behalf of the Maharashtra government, Chief Public Prosecutor S S Shinde appeared and consented to the date fixed for the next hearing.

Salman did not come to the court. His sister Alvira was, however, present.
The HC had on May 8 stayed the execution of the 5-year sentence awarded to 49-year-old Salman in the 13-year-old case and granted him bail while admitting his appeal.

Salman was convicted by a sessions court on May 6 and sentenced to five years’ imprisonment on various counts, including ‘culpable homicide not amounting to murder’.
A man was killed and four others were wounded when the actor’s Toyota Land Cruiser ran over them while they were asleep on a pavement outside a bakery in suburban Bandra on September 28, 2002.

Salman has challenged the findings of the trial court that he was drunk and was driving under the influence of liquor. The actor pleaded that the trial court had wrongly convicted him under the culpable homicide charge, because he had no knowledge that he would meet with an accident.

In the appeal, Salman has argued that the trial court had failed to appreciate the fact that four prosecution witnesses, including the investigating officer, had maintained that there were four persons present in the Toyota Land Cruiser when the accident took place and that it was the family driver Ashok Singh who was at the wheel.

Apart from being convicted of culpable homicide, Khan was also found guilty of offences under section 279 IPC (rash and negligent driving) and sections 337 and 338 IPC (causing hurt by acts endangering life or personal property of others), which prescribe six months’ jail.

Besides, he was sentenced to undergo jail for six months under sections 181 (driving without licence) and 185 (drink driving) of Motor Vehicles Act.

Salman was also found guilty under the Bombay Prohibition Act’s section 66 (a) and (b) for which he received two months imprisonment and fine of Rs 500. All sentences will run concurrently.

Salman’s lawyer Amit Desai had earlier argued in HC during admission of the actor’s appeal that the prosecution’s sole eyewitness Ravindra Patil (Khan’s then police bodyguard who passed away in 2007) was an “unwilling witness” and he was “forced” to give his evidence about Khan driving the car.

The lawyer had also contended that Patil had in an interview a day after the accident said there were four persons in the car. However, during the trial, he contradicted himself by saying there were only three persons.

Desai argued that the trial court judgement holding that Khan was driving the car and that he was under the influence of liquor was not satisfactory. He also said that the trial court had failed to consider the defence plea of a ‘tyre burst’ having caused the accident.
Khan’s lawyer had also questioned the prosecution’s failure to examine singer Kamaal Khan, who was present in the car at the relevant time along with the actor and was a key eyewitness.

However, government pleader Sandeep Shinde, though not opposing the admission of appeal, had objected to suspension of the sentence and argued that Khan had knowledge of consequences of rash and negligent and drunken driving.

Therefore, he said, the trial court had rightly convicted Khan under the charge of culpable homicide not amounting to murder.

Shinde said the blood test of Khan revealed there was alcohol content above the permissible limit. He also said that while Kamaal Khan’s statement was recorded by police during investigation, he was not available to them for examination before the trial court as he was a UK national.

Refuting the defence claim of four persons travelling in the vehicle, Shinde said the theory of Ashok Singh being at the wheel was introduced at the fag end of the trial when Khan made a statement under section 313 of CrPC, and termed it as an “afterthought”.

Govt and civic hospitals better for acid attack victim’s surgery: HC

The Bombay High Court today observed that government-run JJ Hospital and civic-run KEM Hospital would be better equipped and cost effective to perform plastic surgery on acid attack victim Aarti Thakur.

Aarti (25), who was attacked with acid at suburban Goregaon Railway Station in January 2012, had approached the Bombay High Court seeking a direction to Maharashtra government to pay her compensation as prescribed in the state formulated Manodhairya scheme.

Under the scheme, the state government had decided to pay maximum Rs three lakh to rape victims and victims in cases of violence against women.

The state government had earlier informed the high court that it cannot pay more than Rs three lakh to the victim. Aarti had sought Rs four lakh to cover her medical expenses.

A division bench of justices V M Kanade and A R Joshi had termed the government’s decision to pay only Rs three lakh as arbitrary and contrary to an order of the Supreme Court which had said compensation of at least Rs three lakh should be given.

The court had earlier directed the government to bear the expenditure of Aarti’s plastic surgery which was scheduled in a private hospital last week. The surgery could not be performed as the surgeon was not available. Following this, her lawyer Gayatri Singh told the court that Aarti had approached doctors at JJ and KEM hospitals.

“Government and civic-run hospitals are better, well-equipped and even cost effective. The doctors and staff are also good,” Justice Kanade said.

The bench has posted the matter for further hearing ,

HC lowers monthly maintenance by Rs 30,000 in divorce case

The Bombay High Court has modified a family court order by bringing down the monthly maintenance allowance from Rs 50,000 to Rs 20,000 payable by an army colonel to his divorced wife, who is a dentist by profession.

A bench of justices A R Joshi and Vijaya Tahilramani recently ordered Col Joseph Philip to pay Rs 20,000 per month to his divorced wife Ritu from June 21, 2012 to November 21, 2014, within a period of six weeks.

The court also asked him to continue paying Rs 20,000 per month to Ritu even after November 21.The couple had married at Hisar in Haryana on August 30, 1990, and were blessed with a daughter two years later.

 

The bench was hearing an appeal filed by Col Philip against the impugned order of the family court which granted a divorce decree to the couple but ordered maintenance of Rs 50,000. The husband filed an appeal challenging maintenance.

The Mumbai family court had ordered Col Philip to pay Rs 50,000 per month to his estranged wife after going through his salary slips. However, the high court brought it down to Rs 20,000, observing that the maintenance was exorbitant.

“Taking an overall view of the facts and circumstances, we are of the opinion that the amount of maintenance granted by the Family Court in the sum of Rs 50,000 per month is exorbitant and needs to be reduced to Rs 20,000 per month,” said the bench in its order on October 21.

The court noted that the appellant’s 22-year-old daughter was undergoing a veterinary science course in Nagpur for which he was spending money on her hostel accommodation and studies. And this, he did, despite his daughter having an independent source of income from a family business of her maternal uncle. Hence, the daughter was not dependent on Ritu.

The court noted that Ritu was a dentist and also earned some amount out of a trust she ran in the name of ‘Highways Infinite Public Trust’.

Besides, she had a flat and car in her name. The flat was purchased for Rs 15 lakh and half of this amount was contributed by her husband. She also had bought a land in 2008 and sold it for Rs 2.52 lakh, the judges observed while disposing of Col Philip’s appeal.

Property row: HC upholds life term for man who beheaded father

The Bombay High Court has upheld the life sentence for a 36-year-old man from Nashik district, convicted for the murder of his father over a share in the ancestral property.

A division bench of Justices V K Tahilramani and A R Joshi last week dismissed the appeal filed by convict Bhausaheb Sahadu Jakhere, who is currently lodged in Nashik prison.

Jakhere’s mother had turned hostile during the trial and supported the defence, but the High Court held that it could not be construed as the prosecution’s failure to prove its case.

According to the police, on October 2, 2007, there was a quarrel between the convict and his father Sahadu Jakhere. In a fit of rage, Bhausaheb attacked his father with a sickle and beheaded him.

When his mother tried to intervene, he attacked her too. She rushed to her younger son’s house in an injured state.

When she returned with the younger son, she found her husband lying dead in a pool of blood. Bhausaheb was then handed over to the police.

“Considering the material available against the appellant and his silence as to how his father died when apparently he was supposed to explain the situation, in our considered view, it is enough for us not to entertain the present appeal,” said the judges.

The High Court also noted that although the mother had not supported the prosecution’s case in the trial court, it cannot be a mitigating circumstance.

Wife’s murder: HC reduces life sentence of man to 10 years

The Bombay High Court has reduced to ten years the life imprisonment sentence awarded to a man for killing his wife by striking a blow on her neck at their home in Nashik nine years ago.

A bench of Justices V K Tahilramani and A R Joshi said the convict Narayan Mahaskar was guilty under 304 IPC part one (culpable homicide not amounting to murder having an intention to cause death) and reduced his sentence to 10 years’ rigorous imprisonment, instead of 302 IPC (murder) under which he was awarded life imprisonment by the lower court.

The bench noted in their recent order that the evidence of witnesses points to a sudden fight between the couple on the day of the incident in which the husband struck a blow on the neck of his wife as a result of which she succumbed to injuries at their rental home.

The court said that only one blow was administered on the neck and no weapon was used in the attack. Looking into the nature of the injury and the circumstances, the judges said they were of the opinion that the convict had intended to cause the death of his wife and, hence, the offence should fall under section 304 of IPC, instead of 302.

According to the prosecution, the couple was staying in a rented house and used to quarrel every day. The incident occurred on the intervening night of September 1-2, 2005.

Their landlady Jijabai Sonawane found the victim dead in the house and reported the matter to the police.

Narayan had absconded and a look out notice was issued against him. He was declared a proclaimed offender.

He was arrested after ten months at the instance of a real estate agent who had helped him in getting the house on rent.

The convict had argued that there was a sudden fight between the two and he had struck a blow in a fit of anger. He took the defence that he had no intention to kill.

However, the prosecution argued that the accused had the intention to kill his wife and he struck very hard on her neck as a result of which she died. The accused had also absconded not for few days but for ten months.

Rs 1 crore and a flat is cost of Divorce

The biggest divorce settlement ever that you would not have heard till date is here. The Bombay high court has inked a historical judgement in its history by awarding a flat and Rs 1 crore as permanent alimony and maintenance to an estranged wife. A city resident will pay this whooping amount to his estranged wife.

A division bench of Justice A M Khanwilkar and Justice A R Joshi last week gave its approval to the settlement agreed upon by Powai residents Arnab and Piyali Sen. “Since the couple was inclined to amicably settle the matter and had even drawn up the terms of settlement, it would be appropriate and in the interest of their children, who are now grown up and need special attention for further and higher education, to finalize the terms,” said the judges, while adding that they hoped the couple understood that “they have to act responsibly and not create any untoward situation which would jeopardize the settlement terms”.

 As per the settlement Arnab, a businessman, is allowed to sell off his sprawling flat in a 36-storey tower in Hiranandani Gardens, where his wife and two minor children currently reside. Flats in the area sell for around Rs 20,000/sq ft. After paying bank and society dues, Arnab will invest 50% of the proceeds in a new flat in the name of Piyali and their son and daughter. The remainder will go to Arnab, who will also have to pay his wife Rs 50 lakh permanent alimony and Rs 25 lakh each to his children as permanent maintenance.

 This amount will be put into a fixed deposit, and the children will be entitled to withdraw the proceeds when they turn 21.

 Once the flat is purchased and Piyali and the children move in, the couple will approach the family court for a divorce by mutual consent. The couple has also agreed to withdraw all criminal and civil cases that they have filed against each other. Piyali also assured the court that once she receives her alimony she would have no claim over the property owned by Arnab or his family members. She also agreed to let Arnab have weekly access to the children.

 The court has scheduled the matter for further hearing on August 2, 2012, when the couple would inform the judges about the compliance of the terms of the settlement.

 Arnab had moved the family court in 2010 for divorce, which is still pending. The family court had granted maintenance to the two children, which was subsequently fixed by the high court at Rs 12,500 per month for each child. The high court asked Arnab to pay Rs 25,000 as monthly maintenance for each child till he deposits the permanent maintenance. 

(Names are changed to secure their identity)

Actor Shiney Ahuja appeals rape conviction

Actor Shiney Ahuja on Tuesday moved the Bombay High Court challenging his conviction for the rape of his maid in June 2009.

“Justice A.R. Joshi admitted the appeal challenging Shiney’s conviction by a sessions court, which sentenced him to seven years rigorous imprisonment,” his lawyer Shrikant Shivade said.

Shivade also said that they have filed a bail application pending hearing of the appeal. “It is likely to come up for hearing on 27th April,” he said.

A Mumbai sessions court on 30th March sentenced the actor to seven years in jail after finding him guilty of raping his maid.

Ahuja was arrested in June, 2009 after medical tests on the maid confirmed sexual assault. The Bombay High Court had granted him bail in October 2009.

Over a year after accusing Ahuja of raping her, the maid, in September 2010, told the court that the rape never took place, though the medical examination had confirmed rape.

Court orders CBI probe against Narayan Rane’s son

In a setback to Congress heavyweight and Industries Minister Narayan Rane, the Bombay High Court Thursday directed the Central Bureau of Investigation to probe his son Nitesh Rane’s alleged involvement in a shooting incident.

Nitesh, who heads NGO Swabhiman Sanghatana, has been accused of firing at Shamim alias Chintu Shaikh, a former aide, in his office in Khar last September.

Shaikh had filed the complaint against Nitesh with the Mumbai police, which transferred it to the Mumbai Crime Branch, but he moved the Bombay High Court demanding a CBI probe.

He contended that Rane’s father, a senior Congress leader and a cabinet minister in the state government, was allegedly interfering in the investigations.

A division bench of Justice A.M. Khanwilkar and Justice A.R. Joshi granted Shaikh’s plea and directed the CBI to take over the investigations into the case.

On Sep 23 last year, Shaikh had gone to meet Nitesh at the Sanghatana’s office in Khar.

There, the duo reportedly had an argument over some issue after which Nitesh allegedly whipped out a revolver and fired at Shaikh.

The bullets grazed Shaikh’s cheek, and he ran outside, got into a vehicle and went all the way to Powai, Andheri east, and got himself admitted to the Hiranandani Hospital.

Later, he lodged a police complaint and the case was transferred to the Crime Branch in early October.

A month later, Nov 12, the crime branch cleared Nitesh of the charges against him, saying that no witnesses had testified against him.