That we call it this time – confidence or something else – that was certainly not there in May this year – when the trial court had found him guilty in the 2002 hit and run case – and had sentenced him for five years. After the trial court sentenced him, he got bail on the same day from the Bombay High Court.

And it is expected that the Bombay High Court will deliver its verdict today on the Salman Khan’s appeal against the trial court order. Reports say the judge has dictated the order and will read it out today once Salman Khan reaches the court.

And Salman Khamn looks cool because there are indications that what may come out in the verdict will be great relief for the actor. During the course of dictating his order, the judge said, (as reports say) – “prosecution has failed to prove charges against Khan on all counts”.

Let’s see what happens next, later in the day.

©/IPR: Santosh Chaubey –


No doubt Salman Khan of the day is a good man and what we are seeing of him today, especially in context of the court cases, is basically about his survival instinct.

He has changed over the years, especially in last decade. What he did in the ‘hit and run’ case today and what he is doing in other cases he is embroiled in can be seen from the perspective of a worldly man.

He has every right to defend himself and it is responsibility of the judicial system to find him guilty or innocent, in a larger system that is so prone to manipulation. He will keep on saying he is innocent even if the courts think otherwise. And most of the people do so.

He has done what most people do. While writing this, we go with the fact that exceptions are found in every walk of life.

Yes, his celebrity status that makes him dear to millions, an icon of them, an icon whose popularity goes beyond India, is also a hindrance when it comes to such cases, especially in lower courts.

Justice walks a tightrope in such cases and judges deliver the verdict to meet the rulebooks and avoid harsh comments of authorities and senior judges from higher courts.

So, everyone is playing according to the tune here. And by doing so, everyone is being pragmatic – trying to survive in the system. The man on the street whom people like Abhijit call ‘dogs’ in a mad vein or people like Abhijit themselves or celebrities like Salman Khan – all are parts of the system.

System tests them all the time and celebrities like Salman Khan or people like Abhijit possess best of the survival skills while people like the common men (including the street dwellers) are at its bottom. They always try but seldom succeed.

But at the moment, this celebrity status is proving a bane for Salman Khan.

©/IPR: Santosh Chaubey –


In a 2002 hit and run case, Salman Khan was today sentenced to 5 years in jail. The court, based on evidences before it, found he was driving the car, and was drunk and was not carrying his licence.

The survivors of the case do not want him to be punished, and so are millions others, including those from the film industry. Yes, the workers want more money to live on. They want more compensation, beyond the odd 19 lakh that Salman deposited with the Bandra court in 2002. But the court has ruled out so, even if Salman is willing to pay them more for a lesser sentence.

We can easily say this a triumph of justice in the lower courts – given the fact that Puru Raajkumar was let off with fine of Rs. 1 Lakh only, even if he killed 3 and injured 2 in his drunken state – way back in 1993.

Sanjeev Nanda, in the notorious 1999 BMW hit and run case of Delhi, killed 6, but he was imprisoned 2 years only. The Supreme Court added 2 more years of community service in 2012. 2 years of imprisonment were after public outage. He was acquitted and released in 1999 but was forced for a re-trial in 2008.

Another hit and run case that made headlines took place in Mumbai in 2006. Alistair Pereira, coming a family of realtors, killed 7 and injured 8 when his drunken stupor lost every sense and his Toyota Corolla rammed into a group of people. He was sentenced for 3 years only. Supreme Court, while upholding the order, said as the state government had not sought a tougher punishment more than three years, it was unable to do so.

From that measure, Salman has got a harsh punishment of five years – for killing 1, injuring 3 and crippling 1. And he is ready to give more compensation.

Though the Bombay High Court has granted him interim bail for 2 days, as the complete order copy is yet to be given, the trial court had not any option.

In fact, the verdict given today is a balanced one after he was slapped again with the culpable homicide charge that attracted a punishment of up to 10 years. A trial court judge has limited options in case of serious charges and when a case involves a celebrity like Salman Khan, in becomes talk of the town, including the higher courts and to judge wants scathing remarks on his verdict from a higher court judge. The case was in limelight anyway and it got some undue negative social media publicity when Salman’s driver Ashok Singh tried to claim the blame on him (March 30, 2015). Ashok Singh had made similar attempt in 2007.

Sessions court had to sentence Salman. Supreme Court had observed in the past that the accused could not get benefit of procedural lapses. So even if the witnesses turned hostile, Salman could not prove that he was not driving, that he was not without license, and that he was not drunk. The Sessions’ court judge found him guilty of all charges and chose to sentence him for 5 years.

It is harsh given by the cases above. It is not harsh given by the fact that everyone is equal before the law.

Higher courts’ response is to be seen in this case now with a balanced judgment by the Sessions court.

The Bombay High Court would hear Salman’s bail plea on Friday once the order is in. In case of Sanjeev Nanda, the final Supreme Court order came after 13 years. Salman’s hit and run case has already dragged for 13 years. Hopefully it will not be dragged on for many more months and the Bombay High Court will hear the appeal in a time-bound manner.

And obviously, we would keep on asking ‘if everyone is equal before the law!’

©/IPR: Santosh Chaubey –