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Why are celebrities being heard out of turn, petitioner asks High Court

A petition in Bombay High Court has objected to appeals of celebrities, including film actors Shiney Ahuja and Salman Khan, against their conviction coming up for hearing “out of turn”, while many other convicts wait endlessly in jail for justice.

Shashikala Bhagwan Gangurde has filed the petition on behalf of her incarcerated husband and many other convicts who eagerly wait in jails for many years to get bail and struggle hard to ensure that their appeals are listed for final hearing before the High Court.

The petition is slated to come up for hearing on July 20 before a bench of Justice Ranjit More.

The petitioner has cited the case of Bollywood actor Shiney Ahuja who was convicted in March 2011 on charges of raping his maid, saying that his appeal has been listed already for final hearing.

It also referred to the case of actor Salman Khan who was recently sentenced to five years jail term in a hit-and-run case in which one person was killed and four others injured. The petition alleged that Salman’s appeal too has been listed out-of-turn for final hearing.

The petitioner argued it was discriminatory on the part of Respondents — The Registrar General (Judicial) of High Court and Maharashtra Government — in placing all matters of celebrities and high profile personalities for final hearing on an urgent basis, in spite of being filed much later.

The petition asked whether the respondents were justified in placing of appeals of celebrities for final hearing on out-of-turn basis while ignoring poor persons who are still languishing behind bars.

It also wondered whether the authorities were justified in having “discriminatory” attitude while functioning in the temple of Justice.

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