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The Bombay high court’s 305-page Salman Khan judgment is out [READ JUDGMENT]

The 305-page judgment that overturned the drunk driving conviction of Salman Khan has been uploaded on the Bombay high court website.

Justice AR Joshi said that the prosecution failed to prove Khan’s guilt beyond reasonable doubt, with the investigation having been “conducted in such a careless faulty manner with scant regard to the established procedure laid down by law”:

194. Needless to mention that in every criminal trial the burden of establishing the guilt of an accused is on the prosecution and that guilt is to be proved beyond reasonable doubt. The benefit of every reasonable doubt which arises out of the evidence adduced, must necessarily be given in favour of the accused. In this case, considering the various weaknesses in the case of the prosecution, various shortcomings such as non­examination of necessary and appropriate witnesses, the omissions and contradictions in the evidence of the injured witnesses which go to the root of the matter, definitely a doubt has arisen as to the involvement of the appellant for the offences with which he is charged. On the basis of this type of evidence the appellant cannot be convicted though the apparent perception might be different as appearing in the mind of a common man. Moreover, from the careful analysis of the evidence collected during the investigation without expressing any conclusive opinion this Court feels that there are following hypothesis possible:

195. Firstly, though the investigation might be impartial, it was conducted in such a careless a faulty manner with scant regard to the established procedure laid down in law more particularly, the procedure required for establishing the chain of evidence when the case is based on the biological evidence, or, ii) secondly, the investigation was so conducted to loosen the prosecution case.

196. Existence of any of the above hypothesis is, in fact, highly deplorable but always it is a duty of the Court to weigh the evidence which is brought before it and to ascertain whether the offences are proved against the accused beyond reasonable doubt.

He concluded:

197. Lastly, in the considered view of this Court, the appreciation of the evidence as is done by the trial Court in the present matter is not proper and legal as per the settled principles of Criminal Jurisprudence. For example, it can be said  without giving all the details that the trial Court had erred in accepting the Bills which were recovered without there being any panchnama and the bills altogether saddled with the fabrication. Secondly, evidence of Ravindra Patil was not  marshalled  properly  and  thirdly  evidence  to establish  biological  chain  regarding  alcohol consumption is not appreciated as per the mandate of law. As such, consequently, it must be said that this is not a case in which the prosecution has successfully established its case for all the charges and as such resultantly the appeal is required to be disposed of…

Khan was represented in the Bombay high court by DSK Legal partner Anand Desai with senior counsel Amit Desai.

SK Shinde was lead public prosecutor.

To be updated…

Bombay High Court Salman Khan drunk driving acquittal judgment (PDF)

Photo by Bollywoodhungama

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