The Conquest of King Khan

The grey shades of right…

The verdict is out.  It is a landmark sentence.  He is going to be locked away.  The mighty has fallen.  It is difficult to stay neutral.  The battle lines are drawn.  Either we belong in the delighted camp or the crestfallen camp.   Both lobbies have a point.  Who is right?

Delighted:  Salman Khan was a spoilt brat.  The accident was destined.  His defense lied through the trial.  Let the harsh verdict be a lesson for the powerful.  If King Khan can be crushed for ill deeds, so can anyone.  No one is above law.  The justice has been served.  It’s a victory for the aam aadmi.   A small step by our judiciary.  A giant leap towards a fair India.

Crestfallen:  It was an accident.  There was no intent.  A terrible mistake, no doubt.  But then, who is Mr. Clean in our society?  Justice is supposed to be blind. Thousands of fatal accidents happen each day; how many land up behind bars?  Salman’s bigger crime was clearly his celebrity status.  Our judiciary has stumbled.  A massive fall towards an unfair India.
It’s a captivating fair vs unfair debate.  Unfortunately, however, we are debating a wrong topic!

It was a road accident.  The episode was not about building a “fair” India, it was about building a “safe” India!  So before we choose sides, let’s first begin by asking the right question:  Is the verdict going to reduce the occurrence of road accidents in our country?   Only time will tell, but it appears that the impact on mindsets is going to be marginal with a short shelf life.  For the simple reason:  people have short memories.  The drivers are going to forget about the Salman Khan tryst sooner than later.  Drunkards know that the probability of killing someone in an inebriated driving state is quite small.  And our country is pretty cool about almost all other kinds of goof ups on the roads.

The truth is that more people die in our country every day because of the potholes, unplanned construction, poor street lights, broken signals, traffic congestion etc. than drunken drivers.  Why look far?  A few Cybagians have lost their lives since our inception due to corrupt or incompetent authorities responsible for road safety.  But have we heard of a contractor or a bureaucrat being prosecuted for these willful wrongdoings?  No.  Why?

Because our developing country has a bigger mess to sort out first: corruption, woman safety, farmer suicides, and thousand other evils.  Road safety ranks too low in the priority to capture mass attention. Salman Khan’s case, as unfortunate as it was, presented our media and countrymen one terrific opening to trigger a national debate on road safety.  Unfortunately, that opportunity was not capitalized.   All of us got dragged into a star vs commoner debate, rather than addressing the core issue.

If our traffic cops were playing clean, the drunken drivers would be fewer.  If the road contractors were held accountable, there would be lesser pot holes.  If sleeping on pavements was made unlawful, there would be fewer hit and runs.  If the traffic emergency taskforce worked efficiently, timely response would save more lives.  And the list goes on.

But here is the trick.  If the traffic cops have to play clean, their stomach needs to be filled a bit more.  If road contractors have to deliver, they need stronger service level agreements and compliances.  If pavements have to be uncrowded, the homeless need to be given designated permit areas to sleep.  If the traffic emergency has to respond efficiently, the task force needs the infrastructure and manpower support.  Finally, we need systems to monitor and audit all of the above. And above all, we need smart teams to design, implement, and execute these systems.

And what is common among all of these solutions?  They cost money, a lot of it.  Unfortunately, our country’s treasures are reserved for bigger priorities.  So is there an innovative way to generate some funding to reduce the loss of lives on our roads?  Yes, there is provided the fund generated is used appropriately.  We have been staring at one such innovative way over the last two days without even realizing it!

Salman Khan
Source: Bollywood Humgama

Salman Khan is the richest celebrity on Forbes India list.  In all probability, he would have been willing to trade his entire present wealth to avoid the 5-year jail term.  He can regenerate his money if he is free. But once behind bars, his prime years will be over by the time he comes out.  His freedom tag of a few thousand crores can go a long way in saving lives than his five year term in a prison cell.   Of course, exercising such innovation has meaning only where the crime has been unintentional.

Unfortunately, this money-for-freedom concept would also be a slap on the face of justice.  Then the question arises, for a developing country—what is more important: Idealism or Pragmatism?   What is more right?  A wrong action for a greater good; or a right action for a lesser good?

It would be interesting to see the take of our captive audience here on Salman’s verdict: a) The sentence should have been harsher; b) The present sentence is just appropriate; c) The sentence should have been lenient with a larger penalty.  It has been a while since I had the pleasure of hosting an interactive dining experience with innovative commenter happy



Accident, Luck, Original, Style

58 Comments

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  1. As India is a free country the following few things we can do as a free Indian, We can drink and drive, We can sleep on the road, we can twist the facts, We can buy witnesses, We can even buy media,
    We can have a charitable trust and a good PR agency to improve social image, We can make life hell of a police witness. What we can not do or we don’t want to do is just become honest and accept the situation. What happened to our moral values ? I mean instead of doing all these things Mr. Khan could have just spoken the truth in front of the court and set up an example. People tend to forget that bigger image does have bigger responsibility and it can easily influence the commoner.

  2. Bollywood discourse that Mr. Salman khan being a celebrity was paying the price for his celebrity status and he had done a lot of humanitarian work. But I don’t think that the court should take such consideration into account while announcing the verdict because this judgment would serve as an example for judiciary in such kind of cases in future. For police lesson would be that they should be more careful. For society the message would be large, drunken driving is a serious crime , and its consequences are huge. Such death cases under the influence of alcohol should be give charge of culpable homicide, and not merely that of negligent driving. Justice should be equal for all.
    And behind Mr. Khan crime pictured as bigger crime compared to other fatal crimes on road , I think media is responsible. Other way not for all drunken drivers media shows what all good things the convicted has done or will do towards humanity being out of bars.

  3. Arun, I fully agree with your comments. Infact I feel this was the time where the judgement should have involved community service, something that he has been doing for some time now in order to rectify his brand image from being brattish to being more sensitive.

    He should have gotten a small term (so that there is some penalization). Instead of a one time monetary penalty, he should been asked to do community service in the form of charity for as long as he continues to work as an actor. A certain sum and activities for each year should be listed as well.

    If the basic premise of the discussion is corruption then the chances of a one time penalty also falling in wrong hands is high, so the best way is he continues to do charity for as long as he works.

  4. This is the most awesome blog I have ever read on this Verdict.
    My comment on this Verdict would be; Leave Salman and help the family of the Victim. This should not be taken as a lesson to show people we do justice to all. Yes, the law is same for everyone, but how would this sentence help the victim’s family. They would have been more happy if the compensations would have been paid to them. What do you think about it ?
    – Vibhav, Ex-Cybagian

  5. B

  6. Dear Arun,

    Greetings!

    It’s a nice article that you have written and in my opinion, if the facts in the media are accurate, then I feel that the sentencing has been appropriate.

    Its one thing to committ a crime but to lie about it for years only for prolonging the judgement, thereby delaying justice, is not expected from a person of his stature.

    I always believe that if we can pay for our misdeeds while still alive, the quantum of punishment is still bearable and this concept had been detailed in many religious texts.

    As we are all his fans, I hope God gives him strength and courage to bear the jail term and I am sure he will be an even better human being because of this experience.

    I am sure that he can definetely take up this issue of drunken driving in the future and save numerous lives in the process which will only add to the good karma that he has already garnered in his life.

    Let’s hope he speaks out, accepts the sentencing and serves his time as required under law. He is a blessed soul and I am sure he will come out of this as a stronger soul.

    Warm Regards,

    Kirtti Ruia

  7. Option b) Present sentence is just appropriate. Large penalty will lead to more ways of corruption. People will have faith in law.

  8. Driving a car is no less than having a weapon in your hand. And if you are drunk while driving, it becomes deadliest one to kill anybody immediately. I would go with
    a) The sentence should have been harsher
    because being a celebrity, you have bigger responsibility towards nation and its people.

    P.S. Thank you very much Arun sir. Its always a wonderful reading experience.

  9. Dear Arun,

    Very interesting and balanced thoughts, refreshing to read after listening to a lot of one sided and passionate debates on television on the same topic.
    I will go with option C, again only because there was no motive or intention behind the ‘mistake’ or ‘crime’. All the people who suffered are more interested in getting compensation and unfortunately (it seems that ) they have not received nothing yet. There should be a still a token punishment of a small jail term though.

  10. b) The present sentence is just appropriate

    Money cannot control Discipline…. its not long term solution… Its controlled by only law and policies…

  11. It should be option a. The sentence should have been harsher. However, harsh sentence would have been more effective, if given within short span of incident occurred. If any punishment could be compensate with money than India would become debts free and taking person’s life would be measured in money.

  12. My vote is (b) present sentence is just appropriate
    =>With delay in trial for years, and recently driver confessing after so many years, he lost the “celebrity” and “being human” status. The sentence that he got is for that only.

    Had he not ran away, instead stayed back to help the injured ones and confess, then option (c) would have been a win-win i.e. Right action for a Greater good.

    Kudos to indian judicial system and fearless witnesses. This will be a lesson that no one is above law. This should be applicable to all including self confessed VIPs.

  13. Salman Khan should’ve been all the more responsible and vigilant because whatever he does sets an example to the commoners, owing to his massive popularity. He’s my FAVORITE actor but that doesn’t deter me from feeling the need to add another option in the above mentioned list – to have a harsh sentence along with a big penalty. He’s no common man, therefore shouldn’t be treated as one and his potential should be utilized to the maximum. As quoted by Uncle Ben, with great power comes great responsibility. Salman forgot that.

  14. Putting away Salman in a prison for 5 years may benefit anyone. An alternate punishment would have been something on the lines of community service and payback to society in the form of:
    – Asking Salman to build a few shelters for the homeless in cities
    – Mandating him to run awareness campaigns to educate of the dangers of drunk driving (citing his own example).
    – Abstain Salman from drinking for 5 years ☺

    It is debatable though if our judicial systems could allow for such precedents, that could have been a win-win. Rather than depriving the masses of one of the biggest entertainer Bollywood has today.

  15. Having respect in the idea of our India and Indian judiciary, I’ll go with option b) (Though delayed) The present sentence is just appropriate. However, the time will only tell if the justice is served because for the ‘Haves’ – it’s easy to find loophole in our dated and weak jurisdiction system and ‘Have Nots’ are left helpless and most impacted.
    My views:
    • While I have not read the complete order of the honorary court in this case, most (if not all) verdicts served are half decisions in my views. The verdicts always focus on the person under trial but seldom address the demands or expectations of victims. The justice delivered should not only punish the convicted but also look after the victims and be sensitive towards healing their wounds – In our industry, it’s not about focusing on fault but going a step further to find solution on what was most impacted which wins back the trust and faith of our customers.
    • I believe that the truth didn’t come out in this entire episode. All Salman had to do was to speak out his heart and truth but nothing but the truth. If he would have done that (and timely), he would have been a real hero and the verdict would have been different! – Being transparent, admitting the truth and learning from mistake makes us better professionals and even stars!
    • After all, it’s not only about punishing the guilty but also about realization, admitting the truth and bringing the change with self-respect and respect for others. – It’s never about ‘I’, ‘me’ or ‘myself’, but about ‘WE’, ‘us’ and ‘ourselves’ that makes a winning team in professional and personal life!

  16. A few words for the Salman Episode (My own creation)

    A win for common man ,
    A disaster for his fan !!

    A penalty that brought greif ,
    A bail to last a breif !!

    Projects now in vain ,
    Bearing the culprit pain !!

    A teaching for the rich ,
    The law is not to breach !!

    The spoilt brat ,
    Was proved like a rat !!

  17. I vote for c) The sentence should have been lenient with a larger penalty.
    Water to a man who has just died of thirst is of no use just like justice served so late that it doesn’t even matter anymore.
    Serving 5yrs of jail is of NO use at this point. Instead he can donate a fixed percent of his every movie earning for the betterment of the needy people.
    If he swears to donate 50% of his movie earning (50cr) then a lesser sentence should be applied.

  18. Arun, what the crestfallen or the delighted think is irrelevant. !

    Everything boils down to the rule of law and its application to all being equal. You have the rule of law in place , everything follows through.

    If we were scared of the law , we would not drink and drive.

    If we were scared of the law , erring officers would be punished.

    If we were scared of the law, bribery and corruption would decrease and road contractors would have to deliver.

    If we were scared of the law, money allotted for the poor and their housing would actually reach the poor and homeless and perhaps we would have shelters instead of them having to sleep on roads.

    If we were scared of the law celebs and politicians would not try to get their wrong doings ‘handled’

    To ideal a situation today …. perhaps but the future is bright.

    We have our problems and our country is working on them slowly but I do believe that ultimately the rule of law will prevail.

  19. I have to agree about myself that I cannot do all the things perfectly myself.
    Being part of the imperfection does not justify a penalty of being in a prison however for such a case.
    It could have been more constructive towards both Salman’s career and society equally had there been some kind of socially aware responsibility on Salman’s shoulders to bear the fruits of his action.
    I could have asked him to place median strips along most of the footpaths and roads within at least Mumbai locale. That way, his career could have been spared and his money would not be spendthrifted. Both ways would have been beneficial alternatives to society, Salman and the economy cash flow that generates a revenue in general, then.

  20. It should be C…more penalty & lenient sentence… reason being it was unintentional … not only the actor but many other people viz. The traffic police, the road constructors, the bureaucrats are responsible for the verdict.

  21. Nothing can be more important than the human life and feel for the person who lost his life in Salman Khan’s hit-and-run case and the comrades we have lost due to road accidents. Regulations are only as good as the people used to enforce them and the attitude to this is also dependent on culture or ethics. Most Indians have a lax attitude towards law and regulations; say littering, spitting on the road, jumping a red light or DUI. This revels maybe the society needs the installation of fear first to act the correct way, before it accepts it as a way of life.

    If Salman Khan can inspire people to hit the gym and initiated a trend of sculptured male bodies this decision can also make people perspire with the thought of Salman in jail, thus act responsibly before driving under influence of alcohol.

    My take is this verdict stands against unethical human behavior, which can be prevented by inculcating self-discipline of drinking responsibly. With a real (reel) life example and a heartthrob/‘Bhai’ of millions of fans behind bars, we could see a change within the society; it is the right judgement even if it is Justice after 13 years…!!

    PS – King Khan title is associated with Shahrukh not Salman..

  22. Before putting up my opinion, I would like to tell you that the blog is perfectly summarized with the delighted and crestfallen sides.

    I would like to cast my vote for option b) The present justice is appropriate. Though it doesn’t take me to delighted side as well as crestfallen side. As somebody rightly mentioned that the verdict came after 13 long years. I believe that is the sole reason where few Salman fans like me would still feel that option b) was the right verdict. The case from its chargesheet period was misguided by the defence lawyers. Had Salman accepted his mistake then and instead of paying a huge sum of money to hire high profile lawyer; donated to the victims and won their hearts, I feel that those victims would have only helped him in win the case.
    In turn, what actually happened was Salman and his lawyer openly lied over and over again and lost the trust of nation. These lies and the prolong period created the faction in society for “Verdict being Appropriate”. Also, would like to share that, had the charity been started from the victims and taken to form the Being Human would have garnered more support for him from all corners of the nation.
    Saying all this and agreeing to the option b) is not making me less of his fan. I would still respect him for his social work as well as the brand name he created for himself inspite of overcoming all these hurdles.
    I respect and admire him though feel that the verdict is appropriate !!!

  23. As illustrated in the Bhagvad Gita, the Law of Karma does not follow the principle of balancing. Many good karmas cannot annihilate one bad karma. Our judiciary has ensured that Salman pays for his Karma, substantiating it with the appropriate sentence.

    The ‘money-for-freedom’ proposition, though innovative, stands on the fluidic ground of categorizing the crime in question as intentional or unintentional. This in itself is a subjective debate and so, perhaps is difficult to put into practice. Moreover, if Option C is considered a viable solution, what is the guarantee that it will pass the litmus test of corruption?

    Having said that, for a developing country like ours, where problems abound and solutions remain on paper, it is not possible to settle on idealism or pragmatism. Idealistic visions need to be tempered by pragmatic execution to ensure some kind of progress.

    Dwelling on these premises and contemplating solutions, a quote by Sant Kalidas comes to mind – “the problem is not bad people being active, the problem is good people being inactive.” So, if we were to propose a solution to the problem of road safety, surely the primary beneficiaries of public infrastructure should have a greater say in it, and that is of course, the public. Forming small local civic bodies comprising citizens from various age groups and professions to provide recurring feedback on the overall quality, safety, and maintenance of roads in their localities would keep the contractors and cops on their toes. Furthermore, the power of social media can be leveraged, wherein the quality or lack thereof of the infrastructure can be publicized in order to draw attention of the municipal and government authorities. Thus, if every nukkad and mohalla of India has a even handful of vigilant citizens it can go a long way in saving lives and ensuring that resources are utilized properly too.

    P.S.: The debate would be more interesting over some good food and your company 🙂

  24. This blog is one of the finest blog when it comes to the Salman Khan Case verdict. I would go with option ‘b’ after reading all the recent articles related to this case, be it Drunken driving, No driving license, torture to the Police Constable, Running away from the spot and hiding himself till next morning.

    See, all of us have to understand one thing, Salman is not an angel or god, he has killed a person. Could you ever imagine if you were the victim who was crushed by Salman’s Car.

    Salman was a spoiled brat then, so was Sanjay Dutt. They have now improved themselves as a good human. But that doesn’t mean we forget his wrongdoings. If our judiciary was strong enough, he could have been behind the Bars in 2004 itself. Now that he has worked for many poor and needful, doesn’t mean any kind of sympathy for him, atleast from my point of view.

    -Sachin Shanbag, a fan of arunnathaniblog.com and an ex-cybagian.

  25. Nice blog man, I think this is the time to introspect, yes authorities are definitely not doing there job right but those are people among st us.
    people do not follow traffic rules when they are completely in there senses,we constantly consciously break traffic rules and some of us are even proud of it.
    this is wrong and there should be a conscious effort from every citizen.
    #reply

  26. An interesting thought came to mind after reading your latest blog -a view that has been gaining traction in europe i feel should be considered in india as the rich many a time assume that with a small price most issues can be bought off making no dent to their personal wealth , but if the cost is high one could witness a sea change in mind set i feel –European countries are increasingly pegging speeding fines to income as a way to punish wealthy scofflaws who would otherwise ignore tickets.
    Advocates say a $290,000 speeding ticket slapped on a millionaire Ferrari driver in Switzerland was a fair and well-deserved example of the trend.
    Germany, France, Austria and the Nordic countries also issue punishments based on a person’s wealth. In Germany the maximum fine can be as much as $16 million compared to only $1 million in Switzerland. Only Finland regularly hands out similarly hefty fines to speeding drivers, with the current record believed to be a $190,000 ticket in 2004.– a good debate could ensue on this matter .

  27. I think a shorter term of two years would have been appropriate. However, I don’t think a large penalty should be levied on him in terms of money. The victims deserve just the right amount of compensation to rebuild their lives after this terrible act. They don’t need large wads of cash.

    The penalty for Salman could be in terms of revoking his privilege to drive for a few years, asking him to do charity work related to victims of road accidents or even asking him to drop the Khan name(which sounds Islamic).

  28. The verdict is appropriate. I am wondering why it takes 13 yrs. to give judgment? Can’t we improve our judiciary system?

    Salman did other crime in year 1998 (killing black buck and Chinkaras) and then followed by hit and run in 2002. If he would have got punished for 1998 crime immediately, he would have not repeated other crime in 2002.( I guess)

    The reason is with years going on, we tend to get mature and start improving ourselves. If spoil brat gets punished immediately, you set a lesson for others spoil brat at same time.

    But, for now yes your solution looks appropriate to ask him to do community service but will that set a lesson for wealthy person doing same crime?

  29. Penalty ought to be on a higher side. Based on the severity of the crime and most importantly based on the status and monetary condition of criminal and the victim, the penalty must be decided. In this case 25k is nothing for Mr. Salman Khan. He could leave 25k as a tip to the stewards every day. So it must depend upon the income of the criminal. On the other hand, the sentence should be what it is meant to be. We should not consider this case as a special one.
    All victims care is about their source of income. Salman could have easily helped the victims in last 13 years. But his hands were tied. Media and defense could have made a different issue of that.

  30. This is first time that This is the first time that I have been lagging behind so many people (26 to be precise) to answer such a question which I know seems to be easy but logically difficult to defend.

    Here it goes; I would like to pick option C but would like to add a few points to it.

    Arun’s option states – The sentence should have been lenient with a larger penalty

    For few, this might be insensitive but if someone is lost in such accidents, there is nothing much anyone can do except provide sympathy and support system for family to revive and stand again on their own feet.

    Now being fan of Work Break down Structure, I would like to add few points which states that yes, he should have been given out a lenient sentence with a hefty fine.
    But again, can we trust the government/offices which itself are fighting the ill fate and output of corruption? Answer is no certainly here. The amount of fine cannot be put to use properly, henceforth need to make the person accountable and make equal benefit out of that person, we need to establish an objective, prepare plan of action, monitoring processes to measure and quantify the progress, audit process after implementation is complete and re-implementation in place which can be considered to be a project in itself.

    Tenure of sentence – Set it up for a term of 2 years
    Logic behind it – A person who is celebrity/well off in terms of wealth and brand image who is well connected to market with a social image is of no use behind bars for so long which can certainly bring down the quotient due to which he/she committed that mistake. It is always better to use it for country’s own progress and good.

    What the person will do in these two years?

     Conceptualize, Plan and Prepare a team for a project
     Tenure of project
     Team members specifics

    During this term, he has to do the following – Conceptualize, Plan and prepare team for implementation

    a. Plan an activity which is of social benefit to society and only to the needy and not relating or benefitting to any business/political party/office or entity and can ONLY be approved by body of students and students in IIM/IITs/IIS/TIFR, etc.
    b. The activity described in point (a) needs to be budget and documentation in place along with required approvals by government for implementation of that project be given on single approval or one desk of a judiciary (single signing authority)

    c. Also prepare a plan for family of the victim for their survival, education of children and health insurance of all members for entire life. An instant payment to be doled out to family of victim upon conviction of the indicted member

    Tenure of the project to complete its lifecycle – The term of project can be maximum of 5 years of entire lifecycle which will start once the person is released and the person will be working on ground zero so as to maximize his/her involvement in these projects along with team members.

    Team members – The team members have to be from IITs/IIMs as they anyway will go away with some high paying jobs and it is better for them to contribute to the nation while they learn on subsidy that comes out from tax payers. Just like doctors do a duty in rural before they practice, compulsory involvement in such projects in order to complete the courses.

    Phase of Implementation
    a. Implementation has to be done with team members (who can again earn incentive to manage their expenses) along with the indicted member
    b. Plan of action to be decided by professors of IIM/IIT who will break down and give small plan of actions on daily basis and monitor its progress
    c. Quarterly progress report to be shared with judiciary along with expense incurred in the activity
    d. Delays cannot and should not affect the delivery by more than a margin of 5% in terms of tenure and if done so, it has to be justified by professors if it is legitimate to judiciary in a written application which will suffice the cause
    e. A video/audio recording to be performed as a proof on daily basis which can be uploaded to a cloud environment as a proof of work done by the member on daily basis

    Audit of work done
    a. The work will be audited by third party auditors such as students from retired judges/policemen and family of the victims who will approve the quality of work done
    b. Upon completion, the project implemented will be handed over to local government body for maintenance

    Closure
    a. Submit overall involvement of indicted member and his contribution towards the project in terms of manual effort, monetary value and share it with entire nation as a part of punishment endured by the member in every way in a documented manner

  31. Option b) Present sentence is just appropriate. The judges have the knowledge and experience to decide on the case. Also us, armchair critics, are not the right person to pass a judgement on the same. Like Charity begins at Home, we ourselves should start first following traffic rules instead of breaking them per our convenience. Lets be the change that we want to see in the world.

  32. People connected to SK’s Being Human Foundation, claim from years, that he is a very good person at heart.

    This is his actual test. If he is really the character, he will respect the law of the land. And, once he is out, he will surely (along with his fans), do remarkable acts to improve road safety.

  33. Instead of trading his entire present wealth to avoid the 5-year jail term why cant he do both that is serve his present sentece of 5 years (as he deserve it and law should be same for everyone and he should respect it and set an example in future) and also give his present wealth for social cause through proper channel(First help should go to victim and constable Ravindra Patil’s family those are still shattered and ignored), once a sentece is served he would again stand up and we fans are always with him 🙂

  34. Justice delayed is justice denied. However in this case Salman pays most as he will miss out on primest of his 5 years at a time when movies are hitting 200-300 crores. Also with onset of social media he is doing irreparable damage to his image. Had he been his honest in admitting his crime 13 years ago, he would have paid far lower price. Most likely he would have been released in less than 5 years ensuring that he has at least another 15 prime years of his stardom. I’m sure this is definitely passing on a message to public (rich or poor) that drunken driving is extremely dangerous and extremely costly. Agree that penalties have to be severe both at the time of a cop making challan for drunken driving and at this time of the verdict. A 500 crore (100 cr for each year) fund by Salman for traffic improvement could save the Being Human image for him 🙂

  35. Hi Arun,

    I am of the opinion that the present verdict is appropriate; however there should have been an appropriate fine to compensate victim’s family. Current verdict did not take loss to victim’s family into account.

    Regarding being pragmatic to such case, I differ with the view of levying lenient charges but high penalty or social service, because it will introduce another loop-hole into the system for wealthy criminals.
    In last 12 years, Salman and his high profile advisory team had twisted many facts and took benefits of loopholes to benefit the self. Similarly in all such high profile cases in recent past, same things were happened.
    If there wasn’t an honest constable Ravindra Patil at the scene of crime, Salman would have roamed free long ago as all other stockholders could have been compromised.
    & in this case, there was a loss of human life due to drunk and rash driving and that cannot be compensated by charity.

    However, the blog brings an interesting debate for our judiciary and legislative about adding pragmatism for accused of less severe charges and from poor family. Thanks to media’s involvement to this case, I’ve gone through a news article which states that there are around 2.5 lacs prisoners who are actually under trials, not convicts and these amounts to approx. 66% of total number of prisoners. L Some of them have even spent more time in the prison than the maximum possible punishment for the crime they committed. Majority of these prisoners are in prison for less severe and petty crimes and first timers. By adding pragmatism, their cases could be run on speedy trial or mandatory social services as a punishment for an accused who has honestly accepted his crime and regretted the same. There are many poor accused who cannot furnish bonds for bail and stays in the prison. Here, judiciary can bring innovative ideas to think beyond monetary bails. Justice is being delayed and hence, denied for many and there is a huge need of bring in innovation to this age-old system. There are many developed countries who have actually implemented such judicial innovations and their learning would be of benefits.

    Ending with an optimism that there will be a sensible judicial system in our country alongside blindfolded one.

  36. You are right on one account that the media failed to capitalize on the road-safety aspect of the situation. However, there is so much more to the controversy in front of us.

    By virtue of being a top-grossing Bollywood superstar, Salman Khan is a personality most Indians look up to (as evident by the furious, baseless comments his “bhakts” have been making). Don’t get me wrong, Salman Khan is (hopefully) a changed person now. He has his head on his shoulders and his priorities straight. He’s done some good work over the past few years. His fans argue that owing to his good deeds, his past follies are all excused. Karma, however, does not work that way. While you get rewarded for your philanthropist actions (he is a top grossing actor, is he not?), they do not negate your past undoing. You are responsible for your actions, and thus every crime has punishment (just like every effort has a reward). Also, correlating Karma with time is futile primarily because nobody understands how it works.

    Thus, in my opinion, the present sentence is just appropriate.

  37. Hello,

    In my humble opinion the sentence is appropriate, a harsher penalty would be of little use as he is doing a lot of good work to the society and a lenient penalty would set a bad example. I think the judiciary got this spot on. Also the way Mr.Salman and his contingent are reacting is bad. He is solely responsible for the death of another human being and he should take his penalty with grace and set an example to everybody as its the talk of the country. He has the opportunity to become a bigger man by taking a step down.

  38. Hello Arun,
    Before commenting on appropriate action, need to check with what Law mentions on the penalty in such cases. Need to consider for following points as well:
    1. Misguiding jury panel by pretending it was done by someone else (Driver).
    2. He should have admitted mistake and accepted penalties mentioned in Law. There might be possibility to give some flexibility in reducing sentence based on his behavior during course of action.
    3. Drink and Drive is an offence.
    4. Check for other cases running against same person. This again puts more light on person’s real nature.
    5. Law should not consider that how good human that person when same break laws. As our justice statue is blind where it does impartial justice.

    I will go with option as A. The sentence should have been harsher:
    It should have been with equal to normal in similar case irrespective of his fame/money/charity etc.

    As other 2 options are not appropriate as option
    b. The present sentence is just appropriate;
    It is not sufficient enough to the seriousness of crime. Penalties should be such that it should be big warning / alarm for all while committing such mistakes.
    c. The sentence should have been lenient with a larger penalty.
    It will be wrong practice where people will miss use it and commit same mistakes again and again.

  39. I don’t agree with punishment dealt out here. Because with the loop holes and the pace at which our judiciary functions, King Khan will with his money and celebrity power will line up a battery of top notch lawyers of the country to keep him off the bars for a long time, while he will make oodles of money at the cost of Indian Aam Admi who drool over him.
    Yes I have heard and read of his philanthropic acts, but finally nobody is above the law of the country.
    More appropriate would have been to make use of his celebrity status and money power
    1. Higher penalty commensurate with the King Khan’s celebrity status, which in turn is utilized for a good cause
    2. Community Service, like how they have in the US.

  40. Liked it : The episode was not about building a “fair” India, it was about building a “safe” India! – I think the focus was clear, Judges were looking for “fair” India only and “Safe” India could have been outcome. And this is what we usually do, do the fair job and stop focusing on value adds. Again, Its what the KRA’s are 🙂 so more focus on known than unknown.

    Money cannot buy everything, its intension and attitude, which can satisfy one’s need and deeds. Even if you pay well [They already get paid well – sweeper in PMC permanent post makes around 25-30K / pm and more holiday’s and benefit [reservation / discounts / free loan] ], will it make there stomach full? Only strict laws can make a person abide to the ethics of the society. So till the time we get ‘safe’ India lets be a ‘fair’ India

  41. Amazing blog on this steaming topic.
    Salman Khan did not commit a crime with some evil intention however, it was an accident. Considering the fact that this happened a decade ago and this case should have been heard and dealt somewhere around that time. The point here is why punish someone after so many years? As the saying goes, Justice Delayed is Justice Denied.
    Definitely, over the period of time that has passed he has realized his mistake, repented and has contributed for some good causes. What would we achieve by keeping him behind the bars for 5 years? In fact it would be the government who would be losing out on the tax that comes from him. Further, he is indulged into many charitable activities that would suffer a great set back if he is put behind the bars.
    We should also consider the fact there have been no more such incidences where he is involved, which clearly shows that he has learned his lesson. We should give people a chance to learn and walk on the right path. A Punishment behind the bars is not the only one where people can learn from mistakes. What is more important over here is to consider the fact that would the family of the victim be helped in any way by putting Salman Khan behind the bars? Our prime focus should have been rehabilitation and upliftment of the victim’s family.
    I would prefer to go with options C, if Punishment is inevitable.
    Putting a person behind bars is not the only solution. The entertainment industry is already losing out on taxes and money on projects of Sanjay Dutt. Even there as some odd number of director for whom the projects have been derailed. It’s important to re-visit or revamp our judicial system. There should be other ways to deal with such an incidence. If a celebrity is already into so much charity work, so why not get him/her to do some kind of community service for a period of a decade (negotiable) and assign them with a project to be completed within that time. Over here, I would prefer if Salman Khan is assigned the work of building a designated place for the homeless to sleep. I feel we should consider other forms of punishment to be present in our judicial system to deal with different kind of situations.

    • @Rajanikaur Arora – Do you really think this crime can be classified as “unintentional”? When Salman was in an inebriated state why did he sit behind the wheel in the first place? What happened to his sense of responsibility then? His drinking and consequently getting drunk was intentional. His driving in a drunk state was intentional. But when he killed someone, it suddenly became an “accident”?

      Moreover, why are we limiting ourselves to only the cases of celebrities. What if a common man with moderate financial resources is involved in a case of drunk driving? Since no big stakes are involved and the offender doesn’t have deep pockets to dole out huge sums of charity, the law would follow its course, isn’t it? I do agree though with your point of offering community service in lieu of a shorter prison term (as is done in the U.S).

      Looking at the larger picture, can we really categorize laws and punishments based on an individual’s income?

      • @ Rajani & Nisha,
        Whether intentional or unintentional, drunk or not drunk, killing someone is a crime, the point to notice here is that it was an accident, road accidents take more lives in a year in comparison to another means of death (Nearly 5 lakh road accidents are reported every year), Arun has beautifully exhibited the road safety issues in his blog. Salman Khan here is a Vitim of his stardom, I know for a fact after a certain point in time, no one cares about the people who die in road accidents. Frankly had it been anyone else in place of Salman khan this case would not have got such mileage. Media has a lot of interest in covering every single movement of this case. why? There are lakhs of cases pending in court for such accidents. Frankly the family members of the deceased do not even come for the hearings. Now in this case had it been anyone else in place of Salman Khan, this would have been settled out of the court, but because of Salman Khan this case is getting unwanted attention. We should all respect the Verdict of the court, and Salman moving to the higher court is well within his constitutional rights. We are all speculating about him being guilty or not, but let’s move our attention to the fact that besides being a big celebrity he is one of the best human being who actually cares for the society, his contribution should not go unnoticed.

        I agree with Nisha. Punishment should not be based on the status of an individual, however, unfortunately this is what happens in our country, (E.g. A Politian is never punished for his crimes)

        I agree with Rajani too, it’s better to give him imprisonment for a shorter duration of time (if his guilt is proved) and have him do community services.

  42. Not sure who is to be blamed here- the Indian legal system or Salman Khan; the law-for being so “sympathetic” towards a crime committed by a celebrity, that their case is in abeyance indefinitely; or Salman- for driving arrogantly.

    In this case, justice delayed in itself was a bonus to Salman. While his case moved at snail’s pace, he was allowed to pursue his career and make oodles of wealth. Should it take so long to quantify the severity of a punishment that should be enforced on someone who obnoxiously runs over a man sleeping on the footpath? Also, don’t forget the Black Buck hunting case.

    If the rich and the famous were to be treated differently, why do we say justice is blind? It’s high time (especially in India) that we take the blindfold off lady justice’s eyes so that she can see and measure the strength of a case based only on who is being condemned. Talk about dichotomy here!!

    Excuse me….. I ran over a man only because I was drunk and was driving on the sidewalk……..oops! By the way, I am a celebrity!!!
    Need a sterner action……let justice not merely be the interest of the stronger.

  43. Too much time / space has been spent on this topic. He has been convicted by a due process so lets respect and move on. He has choice to appeal and take a legal recourse. And we should respect that outcome as well. Plain and simple. This kind of hero worshiping where we start questioning judicial process is not sign of matured society.

    I will skip choosing options, rather share thoughts on questions raised in earlier paragraph. Do we choose Idealism over Pragmatism. Pragmatism is needed in defining laws but once defined it has to be idealism. If we start applying pragmatism there, it can and will go to any extent.

  44. The current sentence is correct with community service

  45. Hello Arun,

    I feel option C would be better for Salman Khan, looking at present verdict i feel media took this case to greater limelight just because he is a celebrity. Road accidents are equivalent to murders, its a sort of murder, several accidents take place everyday, who exactly is responsible, road contractors, government officials, drunk driver. Of course drunk driving is an offense, and is also one sort of muder just like accidents taking place by other means such poor conditions of roads. There were several accidents that took place before this incident, but was any one punished? Did things really change in the law? Were there steps taken for better road infrastructure and were it implemented? With so much charity work done by Salman he should be punished as per the law with higher penalty and minimum years of jail.

  46. Who is Salman Khan? For some he is VVIP, for some he is celebrity, and there are few for whom he is good “Human Being”. Some of us think that he should not be punished. But what about those who died in that accident? What about Ravindra Patil(Constable who was present at time of accident) and his family ? would a sum of Thousands’ /Lac be good enough for such people? Off course not!
    From last few days everyone is talking about Salman khan’s verdict but No one raises their voice for people who died because of Salman.

    Now come to Indian Judicial system. In my childhood my understanding was that Snail is the slowest among all mammals. But day by day when I grew, I have observed that the Indian judicial system is slower than snail. But again I will reframe my sentence “Indian judicial System is SLOW for the POOR people but not for the rich ones, and Salman’s case is the best example of it. We all have seen what had happened on 6th March, Within just few hour after Salman got a bail. How ? If any common man amongst us would have been in place of Salman Khan, would he have got bail in this case? Absolutely NOT!

    Now here some people are saying “Foopath Sone eke liye nahi hote” but “Footpath gaadi chalane ke liye bhi nahi hote!” . and who would like to sleep on Foothpath ?I guess no one would be like to sleep on road, but then why these people are sleeping on Foothpath ? from where do these people come to our metro cities? Who are these people why do they sleep on road? Who is responsible their condition ? In India where Rich becomes richer and Poor continues to remain Poorer, if we find the answer for this question we will know who these people really are ?

    I would like to conclude with two simple points

    1) What if Salman would have killed a rich person accidently after drinking and driving ?
    2) What if Poor driver accidently killed a rich man after drinking and driving ?

    Is INDIAN LAW equal to everyone ? I guess all of us know the answer 😉

  47. Its not about fair Vs corrupt or Moral Vs Justice. I would rather point out the lack of discipline we as a nation have built into our DNA. Forget the system not being able to administer the law or incompetency of our judiciary to give a timely decision. Have we thought even once that we are equally responsible for the mess that we are in today by not following the rules and regulations. Instead of blaming society and the powers that be, its time we bring a change in ourselves and for once follow rules , not break signals and not drive on the wrong side of the road. Perhaps this one small gesture could be the start of a new India that we want the future generations to inherit.

  48. Its true that no one is above the Law and the Law is same for all.

    But if we think a little deeper then the laws in the first place were made for the better of human beings so that there will be no injustice to anyone irrespective of his caste/religion/economical/social/status background and all human beings will have the same birth rights and no one who thinks that they are above everyone will have any special rights so that they can do whatever they want!

    I believe instead of giving even harsher punishment just to prove that the law is same for everyone, if his sentence span is kept the same and make him to pay a huge penalty and to ensure that it will be used for the better of human beings (better road quality, to take measures to eliminate people to sleep on footpaths, etc) and that will benefit many people and also he should be made to do ACTUAL COMMUNITY SERVICE for the REST OF HIS LIFE given his crime and other wrong doings.

    In this way the Law will also be followed so that this will be a lesson for everyone against crime/wrong doings and also it will help fund the respective people to carryout the activities and initiatives to help the victim’s families and to implement all the required necessary tasks.

    Hence by maintaining the punishment as it is, no common man who are not able to pay for bail as well as the rich & famous people who will think of giving their fortune and lifetime of community service will dare to break the law.

    A very important question asked at the end “What is more right? A wrong action for a greater good; or a right action for a lesser good?”
    -> My take here would be, A wrong action for greater good will always benefit more than the right action for a lesser good.
    As we all know that all lies are bad but if a white lie helps everyone than why not go with it.
    Here’s a situation to think about.
    If given a choice to save a billion, million needs to be sacrificed!

  49. Great explanation on how people need to do their job at the right time.
    I will go with the option b.

    If Salman was a responsible person he should have walked to the police station and said i did it. Lets picture ourselves in the situation of the person injured and the one killed. This is perfectly described by one Bollywood director
    Charudutt Acharya on his FB Account!!!

    Picture yourself

    You were at American Bakery buying jelly pastries for your near and dear ones at home. You step out and boom! A drunk Salman Khan knocks you down. Your one leg is a smashed jelly pastry now. He gets out, looks at you, sits in his car and fucks off.

    For 13 years you go through operations, implant failures, infections. You are in debt. You wake up in cold sweat often. You cry when your kids want to play football with you. And you keep going to court for hearings where all the time the large hearted human being Khan says he was not at the wheels. He does not even recognize you. Maybe he even smiles and waves at you thinking you are his fan.

    Then this judgement comes. Salman gets five years. Out of which one year gets pardoned for good behaviour. And in the remaining four years, he gets several privileged and entirely illegal paroles to attend parties and chill out like his good pal ‘innocent –gun lover ‘Sanjay Dutt gets. Or Jessica Lal’s baby faced murderer Manu Sharma gets.

    2019. Salman is out in four years, back into the lap of luxuries and stardom. Maybe starring in his own bio-pic.

    But YOU continue sit in the ‘handicap’ seat of a bus like you have been doing for the last 18 years. You sit in the corridors of hospital waiting for the doctor to tell you that finally your bone is united. You sit at dance parties. You sit on the beach. You SIT a lot. You sit your entire life out.

    So go figure.

  50. It’s a nice article.

  51. Hello,
    Interesting blog!!! and offcourse intersting discussion..

    In my opinion the sentence should have been harsher not becuase he is celebrity but for all such cases. In India we take People’s life for granted. Doing any other thing CAN NOT make those people alive who were killed during accident. Any crime dealing with life of people should have such punishment where criminal realizes its about someone’s LIFE and not about money or anything else. How can anyone evaluate someone’s life with money or any other expensive thing?

  52. I would go with option a) The sentence should have been harsher.
    This is because he not only took the lives on footpath but also his then bodyguard Ravindra Patil and the prime witness in his case. Ravindra Patil’s story was also hidden from media for many years…he was constantly being threatened so much so that he was later found begging on the streets on Mumbai before his death. No one is above law…with this option a pint of our judiciary system can be strong and we can see a better India.

    It’s sad to know the law for Human Being is so different than the Law for Being Human.

  53. Do Salman is holding a V.V.I.P. pass to kill people?? Just because of his human being donations… Great… then most of the Indians are holding that kind of pass who are kind to society in various ways at least for petty crimes.
    He is thinking that everyone can be controlled with money, Lawyers who changed the reason of the death of poor people by saying, death caused by crane that came to pick his vehicle. Judicial system who kept waiting for years to announce the final verdict and his own driver who recently said, “Salim bhai told me to reveal the real things now, it’s the time”. So why not earlier?? The Main witness, Constable Ravindra Patil on whose statement this case settled literally begged on the streets in his last days.
    Well played Salman, You deserve 10 years of sentence…
    I am also a fan of Salman, but I will not commit suicide for his crimes. Salman just said sorry to his fans and closed this chapter. What a Play Salman, simply superb….
    I will go with option A; the sentence should have been harsher…. Because now a days we hardly believe on our judicial system which can be managed at any point…right till the verdict… so our government should have utilized the pressure and must have increased his sentence.

  54. I think option B is fair. It was an accident and it can happen with anyone. Option C would create more problems and option A would be too harsh. I think … to some extent it was mistake of homeless people too. They should not sleep on pavement. I know that they don’t do it by choose but there should be other alternatives.

  55. b) The present sentence is just appropriate*
    * Until other verdict from higher court/authority pops up
    Reason: In my opinion, there cannot be/should not be any question on court judgment/decision as in democracy that is the FINAL thing.
    A) Only thing which is worrisome here is the delay in court proceeding. It should be time bound so that it does not turns up as a burden on people with less money or as a mean to delay the stuff by biggie.
    Also there should be some way (more facility from government side) for powerless/moneyless people to fight the cases which at times goes in favor of biggies because they do not have good lawyers etc with them just because they are not having a enough money/support.
    B) Also punishment for a particular offence should be same (as it is currently being followed in India) for all. It should not depend how much money one can give etc etc…

  56. Thank you For Sharing Informations……………

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