Justifying the evoking of the harsh charge of culpable homicide not amounting to murder (section 304 of the IPC) in the 2002 hit-and-run case, the prosecution on Friday told the Bombay high court (HC) actor Salman Khan had knowledge of the “outcome of drink driving”.
Special public prosecutor Sandeep Shinde told the HC Khan was under the influence of alcohol and was driving without a licence. “So he had both intention and knowledge [essential ingredients for section 304] that his rash and negligent act might lead to a serious mishap and result in deaths,” said Shinde.
Shinde said Khan had been living in Bandra for years and would have known several homeless people sleep on the pavements there. As he was aware of the “topography” of the location, Khan should have been more cautious, said Shinde, citing the Supreme Court judgement in the Alistair Pereira case.
The public prosecutor argued both the cases were rather similar in nature, as Pereira, too, lived in Bandra and was familiar with the area.
Khan’s defence team has been opposing the prosecution’s attempt to compare the case with that of Pereira’s. Justice AR Joshi, who is presiding over Khan’s appeal in the HC, too, on Friday noted there were “far more aggravating factors” in Pereira’s case -- a liquor bottle was found in his car signifying he had been drinking while driving.
“Khan is charged for driving after drinking. Mere drunkenness could not imply knowledge. It must depend on other circumstances,” justice Joshi said. Shinde, however, said that a person who drinks must be aware of the consequences of his act.