MUMBAI: Salman Khan was charged for culpable homicide not amounting to murder on Wednesday in the 2002 hit-and-run case, for which he can face a maximum of ten years in jail.
This verdict has come almost 11 years after the incident. There have been many comments regarding the delay in the case. Well-known lawyer Majeed Memon has shed some light over this issue. “Although this widely discussed case has been delayed for a fairly long time, the incident is 11 years old and therefore, in a criminal trial it becomes difficult to secure the evidence of relevant witnesses at such a belated stage. Some witnesses die, others change their residences over the years and become unavailable to the prosecution, thereby making it difficult to establish the case. In the instant case of Salman Khan, what needs to be found out is, as to who is responsible for this delay,” he says.
Majeed Memon also added that one could not blame Salman Khan for the delay in the case. “The accused, Salman Khan, himself cannot exclusively be held responsible for this long delay. In criminal matters, the delay can be attributed to various factors including the procedural pendency of revisions and appeals even before the trial. In any case, such inordinate delay should be avoided in the best interest of truth and justice,” the lawyer said.
At the end of it, the lawyer spoke about looking ahead and provided some detail about the legal process. Majeed Memon said, “Now that the charges in the case have been framed, it is an important milestone and it is expected that now the trial court will not delay in conducting and concluding this trial. Needless to say that non-availability of witnesses causes advantage to the accused in all trials, for which the accused cannot be faulted. The prosecution as required by law has to establish its case beyond reasonable doubt and if any doubt is left out, the benefit is necessarily extended to the accused.”
Salman Khan’s trial will now begin on 19 August, 2013. Till then, Salman Khan has time to breathe and prepare his defence.