Jodhpur: A revision petition against Bollywood actor Salman Khan in the 14-year-old blackbuck poaching case seeking additional charges against him under Arms Act was on Wednesday rejected by the Rajasthan High Court.
The court observed that the petition of the Rajasthan government has been pending for a long time and "that there was no point in carrying it further," government counsel Mahipal Bishnoi said. "So the court rejected the petition filed by the government leaving it to the discretion of the lower court to resume the trial," Bishnoi said.
The state government had filed the petition in the Rajasthan High Court in 2006 for revision of charges against Khan in the Arms Act after its plea was rejected by the lower court. Hastimal Saraswat, the counsel for Khan, told reporters that a complaint registered against Khan by the forest department on October 15, 1998 under the Arms Act, mentioning that the arms used by him during poaching of the two Blackbucks at Kankani in the intervening night of October 1-2, had their licences expired and hence he had been using those arms illegally.
Following this complaint, the Luni police registered a case against Khan under sections 3/25 and 27 of Arms Act, Saraswat said. But in July 2006, a petition was filed by the prosecution regarding amendment in the charges under the Act against Khan in the court of Judicial Magistrate for allegedly possessing other arms whose license had expired prior to the poaching incident.
The court had rejected the petition saying there was no valid ground for the amendment and if the charges were amended, the entire trial process will have to be initiated afresh, thereby taking more time in decision of the case, his counsel said. Besides Salman, actors Saif Ali Khan, Sonali Bendre, Tabu and Neelam were accused of poaching two Blackbucks in the intervening night of October 1 and 2, 1998 in Kankani village near Jodhpur during the shooting of the film 'Hum Saath Saath Hain'.
Earlier, the Rajasthan High Court had revised the charges against Khan and the other Bollywood celebrities. The High Court had said that Khan would be charged under Section 51 of Wildlife Act and Section 149 of the IPC (Unlawful assembly). Section 51 of Wildlife Act entails jail sentence up to three years or fine or both. Other actors have been booked under section 52 (attempts to contravene, or abet the contravention of, any of the provisions) of Wildlife Act and section 149 of the IPC.
Blackbuck is a protected animal and hunting or poaching of the same is a punishable offence under law.