Chinkara Filming Case: HC Adjourns Hearing on Aamir's Plea

Chinkara Filming Case: HC Adjourns Hearing on Aamir's Plea

The Gujarat High Court today adjourned till July 16 the hearing on a plea filed by Bollywood actor Aamir Khan and four others seeking quashing of proceedings against them in connection with a case of alleged filming of Chinkara, a protected animal, in their film Lagaan.

Justice R D Kothari posted the matter to July 16 after the actor's lawyer sought more time for representation of facts.

The high court had on June 27 initiated the final hearing on the actor's plea which he had filed in April 2008 seeking quashing of proceedings initiated against him and four others by the judicial magistrate of Bhuj district for alleged breach of the Wildlife (Protection) Act.

Under the Wildlife (Protection) Act, commercial filming of chinkara without permission is illegal.

A complaint against Aamir and others was filed by the Forest Department for allegedly filming Chinkara in 'Lagaan' (2001) shooting for which was held mostly in Kutch in 2000.

As per the complaint, footage of Chinkara was taken without securing prior permission of the Forest Department.

The judicial magistrate had in March 2008 issued bailable warrants against Aamir, his ex-wife Reena Dutta, director Ashutosh Gowarikar, executive director Srinivas Rao and cinematographer Ashok Mehta.

However, Aamir and others secured a stay from the high court on the warrants.

The actor's lawyer had contended that they used computer-generated images of the animal in the film and not the real shots as the permission to film a real Chinkara had been denied by the authorities concerned.

They had also contended that the forest department had obtained warrants against them in 2008 without hearing their side.

The forest department, which had initially closed the matter after conducting a preliminary inquiry, reopened the case after a fresh complaint was filed by an RTI activist Amit Jetha who was later shot dead in 2010.

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