The judgment on Salman Khan has once again brought out the latent biases in the minds of society which is not able to digest the truth that the 100 crore star, Salman Khan has been spared the jail term for an offence where he was sure to be convicted.
Killing black bucks could be pardoned as the past- time of a spoilt rich brat with loads of money but running a car over human beings sleeping on a footpath was absolutely unpardonable.One man was killed in that gory accident way back in 2002 and 4 severely hurt.
The case lingered on for 13 long years during which some of the most vital witnesses lost their lives which again led to sinister implications and conspiracy theories that we so love to invent.
And finally, when the Bombay High Court gave its judgment acquitting Salman of all the charges , reversing the decision of a lower court which had awarded him a five year jail term, all hell broke loose.
It was a pathetic sign to watch the TV anchors trying to hide their personal admiration and adulation for the Being Human star by performing their journalistic duty by taking pot shots at the rich and the powerful for bending the law to escape the gallows.
Adding to their hysterical rants against the rich and the moneyed who always managed to escape because they could afford talented lawyers were the other panelists who were reminded by the scared anchors not to make personal allegations against judges because the channels also have a lot to hide.
It is another matter that in this headed argument, the panelists had to be reminded that all the money power could not save Sanjay Dutt and the culprits involved in the Kataria case, the Jessica Lal murder case and Sushil Sharma tandoor case.
Not for nothing did the Chief Justice of India assure the people of the country that there was no need to be worried about the atmosphere of intolerance in the country because the judiciary was free.
Fortunately, the anchors seem to have done their homework better and when the discussion seemed to be veering out of control they started quoting from the judgment.
On his part one must admit that Justice A R Joshi did a wonderful balancing act by handing over a judgment about a case where he himself appeared sceptical about the real facts.
All through the judgment he has blamed the prosecution, including the police of doing a shoddy job.By reversing the sessions court order based on the evidence placed before him Justice Joshi has dealt a scathing blow to the way the prosecution succumbs to pressures from the powerful without saying it in so many words.
What was most amusing as viewers for us was the total goof up or rather the ignorance of of the anchors where a famous female anchor was heard wondering how could the judgment of two judges, one of the Sessions Court and that of the High Court could be so different, in fact, contrasting, with the same evidence before them. She did not care to remember that when three or five member benches gave a decision on some case there were dissenting opinions.
No one told her that if the decision of the lower court was to be held as final why did we have the High Court and Supreme Court in India.
And that reminds me, before the Salman fans start celebrating the verdict they must remember that the state might challenge the judgment by appealing to the Supreme Court because the case has been in public eye for too long and cannot be pushed out of sight.
By Amitabh Srivastava
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