Bollywood actor Shahrukh Khan, accused of smoking in public during an IPL match, today got away with a negligible fine of Rs 100, less than the cost of his cigarette box, after having pleaded guilty before a court here. It seems committing a crime and getting away is a way of life in Bollywood industry.
King Khan, co-owner of Kolkata Knight Riders, was summoned by the court in May 12, 2012, on a complaint that he was discovered smoking on April 8 in full public glare, during a match between his team and Rajasthan Royals at Sawi Man Singh Stadium.
Under the Rajasthan Prevention of smoking Act, 2000, smoking in public places is prohibited. The anti-smoking lobby of course raised a hue and cry over it.
Shahrukh, who attracted flack for smoking in public, had pleaded guilty and expressed his willingness to pay fine before the court which had also allowed him exemption from personal appearance.
The matter came up before the court on a complaint filed by Anand Singh, who runs the Jaipur Cricket Academy, a private club.
SRK is a chain smoker, which has often landed him in difficulty for smoking in public. In 2009, when the IPL was switched to South Africa, he was seen smoking there at one of the matches. In fact, apart from winning the IPL trophy in 2012, as KKR owner, Shahrukh had hogged enough limelight during the show. He has been most of the time being unapologetic in the beginning, only to tame down later. On May 16th, 2012, after his team KKR had beaten Mumbai Indians, he decided to take a victory stroll in the stadium along with his entourage. When the guard asked him not to do so, he turned hostile, abused and tried to manhandle the security. Following it the Maharashtra Cricket Association (MCA), logged a complaint against him with the police and banned him from entering the stadium for 5 years.
Anti-tobacco activists have been demanding that government bring in provisions for more abrasive punishment, including a big fine and imprisonment especially for habitual offenders of anti-tobacco law.
Following the verdict many are happy, including Mr. Shekar Selkar, General Secretary of National Organization of Tobacco Eradication. He was quoted as saying “Such a step would deter habitual offenders like film stars who usually think they are above the law and for whom the nominal fine is not a big deal.”
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