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HC stays proceedings against Aamir

The Gujarat HC stays a lower court's proceedings against the actor and 4 others in a case of alleged filming of Chinkara, a protected animal.

india Updated: Apr 11, 2008 17:49 IST

The Gujarat High Court on Friday stayed the lower court's proceedings against Bollywood actor Aamir Khan and four others in a case of alleged filming of Chinkara, a protected animal, in the movie 'Lagaan'.

Khan and others had approached the High Court demanding a stay on a Bhuj court's proceedings against them. Justice Harsha Devani also stayed the bailable arrest warrants issued by the lower court against the five, including film's director Ashutosh Gowarikar.

The HC issued notice to State Forest department and adjourned the hearing to April 25. The Bhuj court had on March 27 issued bailable warrants against Aamir, his former wife associated with the film's production Reena Duta, Gowarikar, executive director Srinivas Rao and photographer Ashok Mehta.

Chief Judicial Magistrate's court had also directed all the five to remain present before it on April 15.

The complaint against Khan and others was filed in the court By Deputy Forest Officer JV Vyas, as they had not responded to the several notices sent by the Forest Department asking them to remain present for questioning, sources said.

Commercial filming of Chinkara, a Schedule I animal under the Wildlife (Protection) Act, without taking due permission is banned, forest officials had said.

In 'Lagaan', shooting for which was held mostly in Kutch in 2000, Chinkara footage was taken without the permission of the Forest Department, they added.

However, in his petition before the High Court Aamir had contended that they had not used Chinkara in the Oscar-nominated movie and the relevant scene was created using computer graphics.

They had also contended that the Forest Department had obtained warrants against them without hearing their side. The department had closed the matter after the film's release in 2001 following a preliminary inquiry.

However, following a fresh complaint filed by wildlife NGO Youth Nature Club, the department re-opened the case.

At the beginning of this week an official of the Kutch police had left for Mumbai and Bangalore to deliver the bailable warrants to the five people, forest officials said.