In a relief for Bollywood actor Salman Khan, the Bombay High Court on Tuesday stayed the summons issued against him in a complaint filed by a journalist, Ashok Pandey in 2019 alleging criminal intimidation.
Justice Revati Dere also stayed the criminal proceedings issued against Khan by Andheri metropolitan magistrate on March 22. The court has also asked the state government to file a reply within four weeks.
Khan and his bodyguard were to appear before the Andheri magistrate on Tuesday. The journalist's advocate Fazil Hussain said Salman got exemption from appearance before the magistrate for the day from the court.
In his complaint addressed to the DN Nagar police station, the scribe had alleged that Salman had snatched away his mobile phone while cycling on the streets of Mumbai when mediapersons had started clicking his photos. The actor had allegedly entered into an argument and threatened him.
Based on the complaint, the magistrate issued summons and initiated criminal proceedings observing: “Keeping in view the self-speaking material on record, positive police report…and other material on record, there are sufficient grounds to proceed against the accused persons.”
Khan challenged this order before the HC.
Khan’s counsels, Aabad Ponda and Parag Khandhar instructed by DSK Legal, argued that the actor had only asked his bodyguard to stop the journalist from clicking his pictures. Hence, if prosecution has to be initiated then it should be initiated only against the bodyguard, argued Ponda.
Further Ponda argued that on the date of the incident, Pandey had sent a letter to the police station in which Khan had not been named. Later when the complaint was filed again in June, Khan's name was reflected, said Ponda.
Pandey’s advocate, contended that the scribe was traumatised and hence there was omission on his part in mentioning the actor's name.
However, Justice Dere remarked that being a journalist, any kind of assault would not have gone unnoticed.
Justice Dere said: “You are a journalist. If anybody would have committed any kind of assault against you, then you wouldn’t have kept quiet. It would have reflected in your complaint to the police.”
HC has kept Khan’s plea for hearing on May 5.