Salman Khan was charged under the Wildlife Protection Act with hunting blackbucks, a protected animal. Charges against him under the Arms Act have been dropped.
Saif Ali Khan, Tabu, Neelam and Sonali Bendre were charged under the Act with hunting and inciting Salman Khan to hunt, as well as unlawful assembly.
If convicted, the actors face up to six years in jail.
Salman Khan, who is in the US, had sought exemption from court appearance on medical grounds. The judge read out the charges to his lawyer.
The court will hear the case again on April 27, when the statements of witnesses will be recorded. The actors are not required to appear in court unless required for identification by witnesses.
The poaching case was filed against the actors in 1998 for having allegedly shot blackbucks in a village near Jodhpur during the shooting of Hum Saath Saath Hain.
The main witness, the driver of the jeep the actors took on the alleged hunting trip, has been missing for several years.
The Supreme Court too upheld the Rajasthan High Court's decision that removed Section 148 of the Arms Act against Salman Khan, which is interpreted as rioting with deadly weapons.