Actor Salman Khan was exempted from appearance in the 2002 hit-and-run case by a sessions court following request by his counsel Ashok Mundargi. Sessions judge U B Hejib adjourned the matter to May 8. On that day, the court would also hear the 47-year-old actor's appeal against the order of the magistrate invoking charge of 'culpable homicide not amounting to murder' (section 304 part II IPC) in the hit-and-run case.
The offence under this section attracts a 10-year jail term and is triable by a sessions court. Earlier, Khan was tried by a magistrate for lesser charge of causing death by negligence (Section 304A of IPC), that provides for a maximum punishment of two years in jail. The sessions court also asked Salman's lawyer to file written submissions on the appeal on May 8. On the same day, the actor's lawyer would also make oral arguments. Meanwhile, in a related development, advocate Abha Singh, appearing for activist Santosh Daundkar, sought to intervene in the matter.
She argued that police had favoured Khan by not examining witnesses in the case in the last five years and that the actor must appear in the case regularly. Daundkar had earlier filed a complaint in magistrate's court on the same ground but it was rejected. The case took a turn recently when the Bandra magistrate, after examining 17 witnesses, had invoked the charge of 'culpable homicide not amounting to murder' against the actor and transferred the case to a sessions court for re-trial.
Khan has pleaded that the magistrate's order was "erroneous, bad in law and contrary to evidence on record". The magistrate had failed to appreciate that he (Khan) had neither the intention (to kill people) nor the knowledge that his rash and negligent driving would kill a person and cause injury to four others, he said in the appeal. One person was killed and four others injured when the Land Cruiser allegedly driven by Khan crushed a group of people sleeping on the pavement outside a bakery in suburban Bandra in the wee hours on September 28, 2002.