It's a sigh of relief for Bollywood actor Shah Rukh Khan as the Supreme Court on Monday (September 26) ruled in favour of the star in the 2017 stampede case. Sustaining the Gujarat High Court's judgement that was passed earlier, the apex court declined to revive a criminal case against the actor. The Supreme Court remarked that "Celebrities have rights like all other citizens and cannot be made vicariously culpable."
The case was filed by Congress party leader Jitendra Solanki, who alleged that actor Shah Rukh Khan triggered a stampede at Vadodara railway station during the promotion of his 2017 film Raees, which caused the death of a man by heart attack. As per a report by Hindustan Times, Solanki had challenged the Gujarat High Court verdict in April 2022, which ended a criminal case registered against Khan in connection with the man's death.
Affirming the Gujarat High Court's earlier order that cancelled the case against Khan, a bench of justices Ajay Rastogi and CT Ravi Kumar observed, "What was the fault of this man (Khan)? Just because he is a celebrity, it doesn't mean he has no rights."
The court, according to HT, also said that one cannot expect Khan to ensure everyone's safety or provide a personal guarantee while travelling by train. "If somebody travels by train, there is no personal guarantee. The bench highlighted that "A celebrity has equal rights like every other citizen of the country."
The bench further added: "He (Khan) is a celebrity, but that doesn't mean he can control everyone else. Let us focus on more important subjects that deserve attention and time of this court."
Senior counsel Sidharth Luthra and a team of lawyers from Karanjawala & Co. represented the superstar in court.
On January 23, 2017, a large crowd gathered at Vadodara railway station upon the arrival of the August Kranti Express, on which Shah Rukh was travelling to promote his then-releasing film Raees.
According to a report by HT, a local politician, Farheed Khan Pathan, who was at the railway station, suffered a heart attack during a melee that was triggered when impatient people wanted to have a look at the star, while a few others suffered injuries in the incident.
The outlet reported that later that year, a Vadodara magisterial court issued summons to Khan based on the complaint of Congress leader Jitendra Solanki, who pressed on filing an FIR against Khan. According to HT, the high court dismissed the case against the actor in April, saying he could not be held liable for criminal negligence.
However, the bench questioned Solanki's "personal interest" in pursuing the case so hard and asked him to leave the matter. Rejecting his appeal, the bench stated, "It is better to sum up these cases."