The Salman Khan poaching case has to be seen first in the narrowest perspective of whether he is guilty. If he did indeed kill two endangered blackbuck antelopes he deserves the jail sentence of five years. However, the larger picture is symptomatic of how there are two Indias — one for the rich and famous and the other for aam aadmi. The way the justice system allowed 20 years to lapse in a cause célèbre before arriving at a verdict, imposed to the extent of the guilty being in jail at least for a couple of nights, is illustrative of the stark contrast between two Indias. This is a clear case of justice being delayed and by the clever use of every dilatory tactic available to the haves. The speed with which a bail application was taken up and order reserved comes in complete contrast to the lugubrious pace of one of the most gripping cases under the Wildlife Act.
The judiciary cannot be swayed either by the tall poppy syndrome by which the famous must be brought down so as to serve as a warning to all others. Nor can it consider that the culprit may have been through a personal reformatory process by which he has done very good social work over the years. The other consideration of so many billions of rupees said to be hanging on each of his movies and every move of his cannot alter the prime consideration of delivery of justice. The last word has not been heard on this matter as a more exhaustive judicial appeal process is certain to follow. The tragedy of India is not all who are proved to be guilty and punished have the wherewithal to milk the system for a virtual lifetime of delays so the accused are at liberty for all intents and purposes.