Saturday, September 6, 2014

SC questions stay on conviction

The stay on his conviction in the 1998 blackbuck poaching case, the Supreme Court on Friday told Bollywood actor Salman Khan that the law applied equally to everyone.
Critical of the relief granted to the actor by the Rajasthan High Court, a bench led by S J Mukhopadhaya said: “You may have good case for suspension of sentence but not for conviction. Let equal law apply to everyone. There should be no discrimination vis-a-vis convicts.”
The remarks were made during the hearing of the petition filed by Rajasthan police against the stay granted by the High Court on his conviction in the case. The bench has now posted the matter for final hearing on October 28.
The observations came from the SC even as Khan told the court in his affidavit that he was never granted any privilege due to his celebrity status. Pleading the court to dismiss the police appeal against the stay order, his affidavit had stated: “It is denied that the High Court failed to apply the principle that everyone is equal before law and granted me special privilege because I am a celebrity. The courts have at all times treated me as any other ordinary citizen and I have always complied with the conditions imposed upon me.”
Khan added he is also a philanthropist and promotes Indian films and his professional engagement generates employment for the industry.
The SC had issued a notice to Khan after Rajasthan Police challenged the High Court’s order staying his conviction.
The actor was convicted in two cases of poaching on the intervening night of October 1 and 2 in 1998 in Mathania and Kankani near Jodhpur. He subsequently faced impediments in travelling abroad for his film shoots in various countries, especially the UK, where visa was denied to him due to his status as a convict. He therefore moved the High Court, which stayed his conviction, pending his appeals.

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