Mumbai: The Bombay High Court today asked a social activist to explain his locus standi in filing a private complaint in a Magistrate`s court seeking contempt action against Bollywood actor Salman Khan for allegedly posting court orders in cases against him on his website.
Salman`s lawyer Niranjan Mundargi prayed for quashing the complaint as well as proceedings pending in the Magistrate`s court in suburban Bandra. He argued that posting court orders on website does not amount to contempt.
However, Justice Sadhana Jadhav told Salman`s lawyer that since proceedings were not pending in the Magistrate`s court there was no question of quashing them. The Judge asked him to withdraw the petition or press for relief before the Bandra Magistrate.
Accordingly, the court asked the lawyers of both the sides to make a statement on February 17 whether they wanted to continue with the case. The Judge would pass appropriate orders on that day after they make a statement in this regard.
To a query by the Judge, Salman`s lawyer said that so far `process` had not been issued by the Court against Salman on the complaint filed by activist Hemant Patil alleging contempt. The Magistrate had summoned the actor only once and he had appeared before the Court already.
Process is issued by the Court only after it finds substance in the complaint and takes cognisance of the case, according to legal experts.
In that case, the Judge said, no proceedings were pending in the lower court and hence there was no question of quashing them.
The Judge also asked Patil`s lawyer Wajed Khan what was his client`s locus standi in the matter. He was asked to make a statement on the issue on February 17.
Salman had earlier pleaded that the 2002 hit-and-run case involving him had been committed to a sessions court for trial and hence the Bandra Magistrate had no jurisdiction to issue notice to him on the contempt petition filed by Patil.
On August 26 last year, another Judge of the High Court had stayed the notice issued to the actor on Patil`s complaint, observing this (notice) was highly questionable particularly when the case had been committed to sessions court.
The Bandra magistrate had issued notice to the actor
on July 10 while hearing a complaint filed by Patil alleging contempt of court action against Salman for allegedly posting court proceedings on his website-- www.Salmankhanfiles.Com.
The complaint alleged that Salman was embroiled in legal cases including the 2002 hit-and-run case and said that by posting court matters on the website, the actor had committed contempt of court as the matters were subjudice.
Salman, however, pleaded that he had created a website only to ensure that there was no incorrect reporting by the media and that the website gave factual information about his cases and nothing beyond that. He further said that no contempt had been committed by him.
The actor pleaded that the complaint and the summons issued to him may be quashed and set aside. He said the magistrate had not applied his mind on the complaint filed against him as he did not arrive at a prima facie conclusion that a case of contempt of court had been made out.