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There are always speculations in high profile and celebrity cases that the justice delivery system may be conducted in an unfair and unjust manner and to the prejudice of the common man. Furthermore, it is assumed that the judicial system may be partial towards celebrities and may, also, prioritize powerful and influential litigants over the common man. It is, therefore, widely assumed that in such cases the courts may give biased judgments resulting in injustice to the common man.

Time and again, the courts have, in various instances, proved that such assumptions and speculations are groundless and unfounded.

For instance, the Supreme Court in State of Karnataka vs. Selvi J Jayalalitha and others (2017) 6 SCC 263 had convicted Late Ms. Jayalalitha, the then Chief Minister of the State of Tamil Nadu, for committing criminal misconduct, and criminal conspiracy with the object of acquiring and possessing pecuniary resources and assets beyond the known sources of her income under the Indian Penal Code 1860 and the Prevention of Corruption Act 1988.

In the light of the recent events, the Jodhpur Magistrate Court has recently convicted one of the most popular Indian personalities and celebrity film star, Salman Khan. On 05.04.2018, the Chief Judicial Magistrate, Jodhpur had passed a judgment in State of Rajasthan vs. Salman Khan and others whereby it convicted and held Salman Khan guilty of poaching two blackbucks, which are categorized as protected species under the Wildlife (Protection) Act 1972. The Court further held that while fixing the quantum of punishment, it would not take into consideration the social and charity work undertaken by the Actor, as he is a habitual offender. The Actor was, therefore, sentenced to five years of imprisonment and a fine of Rs. 10,000/-.

Salman Khan was earlier convicted by the Trial Court in Rajasthan for poaching three chinkaras, nearly extinct breed, in Jodhpur but later was acquitted by the Rajasthan High Court. The appeal by the State against the High Court judgment has been made and is pending before the Supreme Court.

The Bishnoi Community, who had filed a case against Salman Khan and others sometime in 1998 in Jodhpur, welcomed this decision of the Jodhpur Magistrate Court with a sense of justice having being delivered.

In the present case, the District and Sessions Judge has granted bail to Salman Khan on 07.04.2018 and has directed him to appear before its Court on 07.05.2018.

As a matter of fact, although it took the Court almost twenty years to convict Salman Khan, it has been proved yet again that no human being, celebrity or otherwise, is over and above the law. Every person is treated equally in the eyes of law and based on facts, evidences and circumstances of the case, the courts convict the guilty, irrespective of whether he/she is an iconic personality or a common man. This is because the paramount endeavor and lookout of the judicial system is to render fair and reasonable justice to the innocent and aggrieved who have been adversely affected by the reckless, irresponsible and unlawful acts or omissions of others.

 

Harini Daliparthy

Senior Legal Associate

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