Lawyers assail verdict in Salman case saying it is 'shocking'

Lawyers assail verdict in Salman case saying it is 'shocking'

Legal experts today described the Bombay High Court verdict acquitting Bollywood superstar Salman Khan in the hit-and-run case as shocking and said "the faith of common man in the judicial system has been shaken."

Prosecutor Pradeep Gharat, who led the prosecution in the case in the trial court, termed the high court verdict as "shocking", while leading criminal lawyer Abha Singh said "the faith of common man in the judicial system has been shaken."

"It is shocking, but I will reserve my comment till I see the entire judgement copy," Gharat, who had secured a five-year jail sentence for the actor, said.

The judgement should be challenged in the Supreme Court as the Bombay High court totally reversed the order of the trial court, Gharat said.

lawyer Abha Singh said the High Court could have sent the case back to the sessions court to remove anomalies rather than giving benefit of technical hitches to Salman and acquitting him.

Under section 386 of CrPc, the high court has the powers to refer the case back to the sessions court to remove anomalies, Singh added.

The Maharashtra government should file an appeal in the apex court as it is a fit case to be challenged, she said.

Singh was of the view that procedural lapses cannot be used to deny justice to the victims. Even the apex court had said this in its judgements, she said.

Ashok Singh, family driver of Salman, came to the trial court 13 years after the mishap as a defence witness saying he was driving the car at the relevant time and not Salman, Singh said and asked why the actor had not disclosed this (about Ashok Singh driving the car) when his statement was recorded by police 13 years ago.

"Besides, under section 45 of Indian Evidence Act, an expert's opinion has to be considered as a relevant fact and considered by a court," she said referring to the chemical analyser's report on Salman's blood test for alcohol consumption.

"I am surprised that the high court has bypassed the Indian Evidence Act and kept quiet while acquitting the actor".

The High Court, she said, had also held that the testimony of eye witness Ravindra Patil, former police bodyguard of Salman, was not reliable. "This is against the spirit of section 32 of Indian Evidence Act because when a person makes a statement before a Magistrate it is a strong piece of evidence," Singh said.

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