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An exception: Quick bail for Khan surprises experts

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Joined: 17 July 2013
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Posted: 08 May 2015 at 3:19pm | IP Logged
CHENNAI: Salman Khan may have done many logic-defying performances in films. Now, he has done something similarly incredible in real life, too.

The superstar at the moment is perhaps the only Indian to be awarded five-year imprisonment for a road accident caused due to drunken driving. And, again, he is probably the only person in the country not to step into jail for a moment despite being found guilty and sentenced to imprisonment for five years. Usually, any sentence in excess of two years means bail only after at least a brief sojourn in jail.

It took 21 days for former chief minister of Tamil Nadu J Jayalalithaa to obtain bail after she was convicted and sentenced to four years in jail in a corruption case on September 27, 2014. Similarly, it took more than 80 days for former Bihar chief minister Laloo Prasad Yadav to get bail in the fodder scam case. "But Salman, after being slapped a surprisingly long sentence, got an interim ail, and then a regular bail - first within a matter of two hours, and the next relief in two days, primarily due to his celebrity status," former special public prosecutor for human rights court and advocate V Kannadasan told TOI. However, he pointed out, high courts do have power to grant bail in appeals without even issuing notice, if the sentence is up to seven years.


Fans celebrate outside bollywood actor Salman Khan's residence in Mumbai, on May 8, 2015. (PTI photo)

Motor accident claims cases specialist V S Suresh said that only since 2014 police in Tamil Nadu have begun slapping 304(ii) charges on drunken driving offenders, and that too only in Chennai city. "Five-year jail terms are unheard of," he said.

"There are two interesting aspects: One, even the sensational and infamous BMW case of 1999 ended in two-year jail term for Sanjeev Nanda, though he had run over six people, including three police personnel. Two, people like journalist Tarun Tejpal and Subrata Roy of Sahara group spent long periods in jail even without any chargesheet, trial or conviction," said M Antony Selvaraj, national chairman of All India Association of Jurists (AIAJ).

BLOG: Punishment as a price of fame? 

Ace defence lawyer John Sathyan wondered as to how the trial court that convicted Salman Khan could either delay or deny a copy of the verdict to the convict, enabling him to obtain an interim bail from the high court within two hours. "What is the effect of the order? Right or wrong, this has become a precedence set by the Bombay high court," he said.

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