The Bombay High Court Monday rejected actor Salman Khan’s application to summon singer Kamaal Khan as a witness in the 2002 hit-and-run case. The court observed that this was not a case where the matter could not be disposed of without recording the evidence of Kamaal Khan.
Justice A R Joshi is hearing the actor’s appeal against the five-year conviction by a sessions court, daily. He said, “It is the considered view of the court that there is nothing in this application for summoning Kamaal Khan and recording his evidence” while saying that Kamaal was in the car when Salman left his apartment till the time of the accident.
He, however, said that it was not as if a “just” judgment could not be delivered in the appeal without Kamaal Khan’s evidence. “The aspect of non-examination of a material witness will be dealt with later during the conclusion of argument. But this is not a case which without the evidence of Kamaal Khan cannot be disposed of,” said Justice Joshi.
However, Joshi said that the evidence of defence witness Ashok Singh could be considered even if it had been rejected by the trail court.
Salman Khan through his counsel, senior lawyer Amit Desai, had filed an application in HC on November 16 this year, urging that the court issue directions to summon Kamaal Khan.
In his application, advocate Desai had urged the HC to invoke its powers under section 391 of the Criminal Procedure Code (appellate court may take further evidence or direct it to be taken) to summon Kamaal Khan as a witness for additional evidence in the case. Desai had said that ignoring Kamaal Khan’s evidence would cause “enormous prejudice” to his client.
Desai had also argued that the sessions court ought to have summoned Kamaal by exercising powers under Section 311, CrPC (power to summon material witness, or examine person present), after it had rubbished evidence of Salman Khan’s driver Ashok Singh, claiming he was driving the car.
The court held that the primary object of Section-391 was “prevention of guilty man’s escape through ignorant proceedings before the court. But an innocent person should not be wrongly convicted”, pointing out that deciding on this issue was the discretion of the court.
Special Public Prosecutor Sandeep Shinde, meanwhile, had argued that the defence’s application had come way too late. Shinde had added that the evidence of the prosecution before the sessions court was sufficient to hold Salman guilty for offences he has been charged under and that the application was malafide and belated.