Reports of the hunting trip set off protests, and Mr. Khan was taken into custody. Eight years later, he was convicted of killing the two antelopes and sentenced to five years in prison. But Mr. Khan appealed the decision to the Rajasthan High Court, and the sentence was quickly suspended after a brief period in jail.
Mr. Khan, 52, had several subsequent brushes with the law. He was accused of killing a homeless man while driving drunk in Mumbai, a charge he was acquitted of, and of domestic abuse by a former girlfriend, the actress Aishwarya Rai.
In 2016, the Rajasthan High Court acquitted Mr. Khan of shooting the protected deer, known as chinkara, overturning previous convictions.
Outside the courtroom on Thursday, hundreds of police officers were dispatched to hold back fans and manage the crowd.
After the verdict was announced, some came to Mr. Khan’s defense. The Indian film actress and politician Jaya Bachchan told reporters that Mr. Khan should be “given relief,” because “he has done a lot of humanitarian work.”
But others questioned why it had taken years for the court to convict Mr. Khan, adding that he had long benefited from impunity for being a celebrity. Members of the Bishnoi community cheered and lit firecrackers on the streets of Jodhpur.
Mr. Khan has long maintained his innocence, saying that he had been framed by the forest department “for publicity” and that a forensics team had found that the antelopes in question died from “natural causes.” Instead, Mr. Khan said in a 2009 interview that he had helped the animals, even feeding one biscuits.
“We saw a deer fawn, and he was stuck in a bush,” he said. “So I stopped the car. He was like petrified. So we took him out, I took him out from there. We gave some water. Then he went to his pack and he went away.”