New Delhi: The Supreme court on Friday issued notice to filmstar Salman Khan on the Maharashtra government's petition challenging a Bombay High Court verdict acquitting him in a 2002 accident case.
Issuing notice returnable in six weeks, an apex court bench comprising Justice Jagjit Singh Khehar and Justice C Nagappan told Salman Khan that "it would be much, much better if he gets acquittal from this court as it will save him from all the repercussions".
Senior counsel Kapil Sibal, appearing for Salman Khan, took the court through the proceedings of the trial court, contending that his conviction was based on the testimony of one person, which cannot be relied upon.
He said besides that there was no other evidence before the trial court to convict Salman Khan in the case.
However, Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi that besides the sole witness being pointed to by Sibal, there were scores of other witnesses at the accident spot who saw Salman Khan in the driver's seat of the vehicle that ran over a group of people sleeeping on a pavement, killing one of them.
The apex court was not in agreement with the arguments advanced by a battery of senior advocates including Soli Sorabjee, Raju Ramachandran and Rajeev Dhawan that extra-ordinary law and order situation, threat to life of the accused and his counsel, hostile environment at the lower court and the simmering situation compelled them to rush directly to it.
The advocates also submitted that they moved the apex court for bail as already a writ petition concerning the arrest of the JNUSU President was pending before it.
However, their submission was objected to by the lawyers for Centre and Delhi Police, including SG Ranjit Kumar, ASG Tushar Mehta and senior advocate Ajit K Sinha, who said the facts of the writ petition and bail plea are different and even opposed it being heard directly by the high court.
The bench was also of the view, "What is under scrutiny is something different and the writ petition is to be heard on Monday. It is totally different than the bail application."
When the argument was made by Kanhaiya's counsel about the law and security situation, the bench said, "We do agree with you that it is an exceptionally extraordinary circumstance."
The counsel said that they preferred the apex court to hear his bail plea as the situation in the High Court also would not be much different, to which the bench asked, "Is it so in the high court? Are we to understand that the HC is also agitated?"
While concluding the one-and-a-half-hour hearing, the bench said, "We permit them to make and amend the bail application today itself."