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Relief to Salman as court will not ask for driving licence

In a relief to actor Salman Khan, a sessions court ruled that it cannot ask him to produce his driving licence at this stage of the trial and he can furnish it at an appropriate stage, if he so desired.

Judge D W Deshpande, while rejecting prosecution’s plea asking Salman to produce his driving licence, held that its application was not maintainable under the provisions of Indian Evidence Act.

According to prosecution, Khan was not holding a licence in 2002 when his car had rammed a roadside bakery killing one person and injuring four others sleeping on the pavement outside. Khan had procured licence only in 2004, two years after the accident, the court was told.

The judge said since Khan had not taken a stand that he was in possession of a driving licence in 2002 there was no need to ask him to produce the document.

Had Salman taken a stand that he had a licence at the relevant time then the prosecution could have moved an application under section 66 of Indian Evidence Act by giving notice to him to produce it, Deshpande said.

“At this stage, the evidence is nearly over and hence the court cannot give a direction for producing the document,” he said.

The court had heard the arguments of both the sides on February 27 and reserved its order for Tuesday.

Prosecutor Pradeep Gharat argued that Salman did not possess a licence at the time of the accident. He had obtained a driving licence only in 2004, as per the record available with the Regional Transport Office.

Driving a vehicle without holding a licence is an offence under the Motor Vehicles Act, the prosecutor said.

The actor has denied that he was driving the car at the time of the accident.

His lawyer Srikant Shivade said the prosecution’s application violated the fundamental right against exploitation enshrined in the Constitution as it asked the accused to produce documents incriminating him. He argued that the prosecution should prove its case that Khan was not holding a driving licence without asking him to produce it.

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