Can't bow to public pressure: Bombay HC on Salman verdict

Can't bow to public pressure: Bombay HC on Salman verdict

In a significant observation, the Bombay High Court, while acquitting Salman Khan in a 13-year-old drunken-driving and hit-and-run case, said the court must not be swayed away by popular belief and must safeguard itself from the pressures of media.

“The court shall not be swayed away by any popular belief that a particular person considering his avocation, profession or standing, must have committed such an offence and must be held guilty,” Justice A R Joshi said.

Besides, the court also pointed out: “The court is expected to be impervious to the pressure from the public and also from the media. It is for good reasons that the law of evidence has no place for the general public opinion as a factor that should weigh with the court while deciding a case at hand.”

Justice Joshi, who retires on Friday, also pointed out that probably because “such an opinion and such a perception” is many a times gathered on the basis of information/news that is constantly being told by “media and other institutions”.

“It often happens that a proposition that is repeatedly fed to the general public has the possibility of achieving the status of   ‘truth’. This is as far as the general public at large is concerned. However, this so-called truth i.e, the proposition is required to be proved before a Court of law and in which the established principles of law of evidence are required to be followed. Even the basic cardinal principle of Criminal Jurisprudence and the burden on the prosecution cannot be forgotten ,” notes the judge, who presided over the appeal. 

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