Bombay High Court Orders Release of Juvenile in Pune Porsche Case

Mainstream
26-Jun-2024
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In a significant development, the Bombay High Court on Monday ordered the release of the juvenile accused in the Pune Porsche accident case from an observation home. Justices Bharati Dangre and Manjusha Deshpande delivered the ruling, which was reserved on June 21.


The case involved a minor, the son of a prominent builder in Pune, who was detained following a tragic accident in Kalyani Nagar. The minor, driving a Porsche, struck a motorcycle, resulting in the deaths of two individuals. It was later revealed that the juvenile had been drinking with friends at a pub before the incident. The vehicle dragged one of the victims and only stopped after hitting another two-wheeler and a car.


The juvenile faced charges of rash and negligent driving, causing harm by endangering safety, and death by negligence under sections 304A, 279, 337, and 338 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) along with provisions of the Maharashtra Motor Vehicles Act. He was granted bail on May 19 but was subsequently remanded to an observation home by the Juvenile Justice Board (JJB).


The High Court's decision came after the minor’s aunt petitioned, claiming his detention by the JJB was unlawful and arbitrary. "The custody order was illegal and issued without jurisdiction," the Court observed, directing that the teen be placed in the custody of his paternal aunt. The Court also noted that the juvenile is already undergoing rehabilitation and has been referred to a psychologist, aligning with the primary objective of the juvenile justice system.


Senior advocate Abad Ponda, representing the petitioner, argued for the immediate release of the juvenile. During the initial hearing on June 14, Ponda sought time to amend the petition to include the June 13 order that extended the juvenile’s detention. The division bench granted time but refused immediate relief without hearing the plea.


Chief Public Prosecutor Hiten Venegaonkar, representing Pune police, objected to the habeas corpus plea's maintainability, arguing that such a writ could only be filed if the order was illegal and pointed out alternative remedies to challenge the JJB's decision. Ponda countered, citing the Supreme Court’s stance on personal liberty, "The Supreme Court has time and again said that when it comes to the liberty of a person, the system can be cut short."


Ponda further argued that the JJB's order was mechanical and could be challenged solely on its illegality. He questioned the legality of sending the juvenile to an observation home after bail had been granted, emphasizing, "Almost 35 days remands have been granted. This is completely illegal when the bail has already been granted."


The High Court's ruling underscores the judicial system's commitment to uphold personal liberty and ensure that detention orders comply with legal standards, particularly in cases involving minors.


Author: Anushka Taraniya

News writer