It’s been over a week since the Bombay High Court exonerated Salman Khan of all charges in the 2002 hit-and-run case, bringing a great sense of relief to the actor and his zillions of fans, while on the other hand crores of nationals expressing shock and anger at how this was yet another case of the law bending for the rich and the powerful.
To write about the Salman verdict a week later is a bit too late, but I wonder had I got down to writing on the day itself, in all likelihood, I would have vented my frustration rather than a balanced piece. The verdict was inevitable after in the preceding days, the flaky statements of the few witnesses who deposed weakened the prosecution case. So, it was just a question of Salman walking into the court next morning and walking out a free man.
This verdict created a furore across social media with many citizens casting serious aspersion on the integrity of Justice Joshi and judiciary itself. It would have been very easy for me too join the chorus, but I let my anger die.
In the weak gone by, I’ve read several reports most of which have pointed out the loopholes in preliminary investigation. So, rather than blaming Justice Joshi, may be the people should vent their anger at the shoddy investigations. Late Ravindra Patil was the lone witness who stood by his statement, but it was deemed unreliable, since he too had improvised his statement. Since the dead don’t comeback to testify, it was given that poor Patil’s words would have no meaning. The only man who could have made a difference was Kamaal Khan, but this British national long chose to recuse himself from the case, happily sealing his lips in London.
The other witness saw Salman Khan falling from the car, but he wasn’t sure if the actor was inebriated. The hotel staff at Rain bar clarified that Salman only drank water. I suppose even if the actor had few drinks, that didn’t prove that the actor was behind the wheels when the accident happen.
I’m not a legal expert but I wonder whether a lie detector text could have been carried out on both the surviving victims and Salman. But then again, such tests don’t count as absolute proof
Perhaps, the only people who knew who was driving the car were the ones travelling inside it. Patil dead, Kamaal Khan incommunicado, Ashok Singh claimed he was driving the car. Salman’s defence said perhaps the accident was caused by tyre burst or may be and they also had a ridiculous theory that probably that crane which came to lift Salman’s SUV must have the one that led to the death of the lone deceased.
This turned into case of different probabilities with no one really being able to present the truth. The social media tirade against the actor and the judiciary is understandable, but in our criticism, a lot of us have forgotten who really are seeking the justice for?
Be it the kin of the lone deceased, or surviving victims, these poor people were never in favour of seeing the actor go to jail. After the session court verdict of sentencing Salman to jail, he son of the lone deceased stated on air they rather get compensated through a job and 10 lakh rupees.
Call it trial by the media, mob justice but such clamouring for justice has a meaning when the victims seek support. Here, the victims have been lamenting the 13-year delay, which perhaps didn’t allow them to be amicably compensated. So, the anger on social media against the Salman verdict is a complete waste of energy.
Looking at this social media barrage, I was reminded of the Amitabh Bachchan-starrer 1988 blockbuster Shahenshah. In the film, Bachchan who plays a cop by the day, and a vigilante by night beating down the bad guys and making them accept their guilt In the climax scene, JK Verma (Amrish Puri) is exonerated by the court only to be dragged back into it by Shahenshah. Upon encountering Shahenshah, Verma mocks at the vigilante asking where is his court to which the vigilante replied, “Shahenshah jahan kahde hote hai, wahi adalate khadi ho jaati (Whereve Shahenshah steps foot onto turns into a court).
After exposing the villain, Shahenshah does swift justice too as he tightens the noose around him. Well, may be the disgruntled twitteratis must have craved to see one vigilante on December 10, but I guess, after going through the entire case, Shahenshah must have shackled himself and hung up his noose. Or like lady justice opened her blind eyes; Shahenshah, too, must be bowing to the Sultan.
We should humbly accept the High Court’s verdict just as we humbly accepted the one by the sessions court.