Actor John Abraham will not have to spend any time in jail for a six-year-old case of rash and negligent driving.
While the Bombay high court on Monday upheld the actor's conviction in the 2006 case, he was granted benefit of probation under the Probation of Offenders Act. This means the 39-year-old actor will not be required to serve the 15-day simple imprisonment handed down by a metropolitan magistrate and confirmed by the sessions court.
On the night of April 8, 2006, the actor was allegedly speeding on his Yamaha bike when he dashed into a bicycle on Carter Road. The two men on the cycle - Shyam Kasabe and Tanmay Majhi - as well as the actor sustained injuries in the incident, and both vehicles were damaged badly.
Justice RC Chavan said, "The person who rides a motorcycle has to learn to control it to avoid any eventuality."
The actor's counsel, Ashok Mundargi, had argued that the motorcycle was being driven in a normal manner and the accident took place as the two victims suddenly appeared in front of him.
The senior advocate challenged the conviction and subsequent decision of an additional sessions judge to uphold it contending there was absolutely no evidence to suggest the actor was driving in a rash and negligent manner.
He also urged the court to take into consideration the simple injuries suffered by Majhi and Kasbe, who died subsequently because of an ailment, and the fact that they and their families had filed affidavits stating they had no objection if the FIR was quashed.
Mundargi conceded that the FIR could not be quashed after conviction, but urged the court to grant the actor benefit of probation.
Assistant public prosecutor Rajashree Newton responded to the request saying that the actor should be made to pay adequate compensation to both victims.
The court accepted the request and granted the actor benefit of probation on furnishing a personal bond in the sum of Rs10,000 and assuring the court of good behaviour for a period of six months. He has also been directed to pay Rs10,000 by way of compensation to each of the victims.
Abraham had approached the high court immediately after a sessions court rejected his appeal and also declined to grant him time to surrender. Acting on his plea, justice Chavan had suspended his conviction and 15-days simple imprisonment.