Free Press Journal

HC junks plea saying appeals of bigwigs were heard on priority


bombay high court

Mumbai: The Bombay High Court has summarily dismissed a petition filed by a convict contending that appeals of celebrities are heard out of turn while those  filed by prisoners like him were pending since many years. The petition filed by wife of convict Bhagwan Gangurde had urged that her husband’s appeal in a murder case was kept pending while that of Bollywood actor Salman Khan in the 2002 hit-and-run case was being heard on an out-of-turn basis.

The petition was dismissed recently by a bench headed by Chief Justice Mohit Shah which said it was not a bonafide plea and intended to delay the hearing of appeal filed by Salman Khan against his five year sentence in the mishap. “It does not require a lot of imagination to infer that the attempt of the petitioner appears to delay the hearing of a criminal appeal of 2015 filed by a ‘celebrity’. The writ petition, cannot, therefore, be treated as bonafide. It is dismissed summarily.”

The petition contended that many others lodged with Bhagwan Gangurde in jail are awaiting their turn for their appeals to be listed. On the other hand, certain ‘celebrities’ and/or famous persons are getting their appeals listed for final hearing inspite of being filed recently. Counsel for the petitioner Aparna Vhatkar pleaded that criminal appeals of celebrities should not be given a priority.

The bench noted, “the Registry places criminal appeals for final hearing year-wise, out of those appeals which are ready for hearing. However, the Court has discretion to issue necessary direction for early listing of a criminal appeal which may not be in accordance with the date of filing. “Such discretion is exercised by the concerned Court depending on the facts and circumstances of each case and such judicial discretion cannot be taken away in exercise of writ jurisdiction under Article 226 of the Constitution. The writ petition accordingly deserves to be dismissed,” the bench observed.

Earlier, the petitioner had separately intervened in the appeal filed by Salman against his conviction and urged the court to stay the trial till the petition filed by him is decided. But the court hearing Salman’s appeal dismissed the plea saying it was filed to delay the hearing of the appeal.