A Mumbai sessions court on Tuesday rejected a plea, filed by the prosecution, asking Salman Khan to produce his driving licence in the 2002 hit-and-run case. The court ruled that an accused cannot be forced to produce any document at the fag end of the trial.
"The application is not maintainable under the provisions of Indian Evidence Act as the court cannot force the accused to produce the driving licence," pronounced Judge DW Deshpande orally in the operative part of the order. "The accused can produce the licence at an appropriate stage if he so desires," said the judge, adding that, at this stage, the evidence is nearly over and hence the court cannot give a direction for producing the document.
The court had heard the arguments of both the sides on February 27 and reserved its order until March 3. Special Public Prosecutor Pradeep Gharat argued that Khan did not possess a licence when his car ran over people sleeping on a pavement in suburban Bandra on September 28, 2002, killing one person and injuring four.
"He (Khan) obtained a driving licence only in 2004, as per the record available with Regional Transport Office," said the prosecution.
The actor has denied that he was driving the car at the time of the incident. He has also disputed the RTO record. His lawyer, Srikant Shivade, opposed the prosecution's application today, saying it was not maintainable. Khan's lawyer said the prosecution's application violated the fundamental right against exploitation enshrined in the Constitution as it had 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.
A Regional Transport Officer had earlier deposed in the court saying that Khan did not possess a driving licence when his car met with an accident in 2002. He also produced office records to show that Khan had obtained licence only in 2004, two years after the incident.
Earlier, the trial was conducted by a magistrate, but when the aggravated charge of culpable homicide not amounting to murder was added, the case was transferred to a sessions court and a fresh trial is being held.