Pune Porsche Accident Case: Bombay HC Terms Juvenile’s Detention Illegal; Directs His Release In Aunt’s Care and Custody

Pune Porsche Accident Case: Bombay HC Terms Juvenile’s Detention Illegal; Directs His Release In Aunt’s Care and Custody

It is the court’s bounden duty to prioritise justice above everything else, and that it was not swayed away by the uproar created because of the ghastly mishap, for which allegedly the minor is personally responsible and which has resulted in loss of two innocent lives, the court noted.

Urvi MahajaniUpdated: Wednesday, June 26, 2024, 04:50 AM IST
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Pune Porsche Accident Case: Bombay HC Terms Juvenile’s Detention Illegal; Directs His Release In Aunt’s Care and Custody |

Mumbai: Observing that continuation of custody of the juvenile accused in Pune’s Porsche car fatal accident last month in an observation is illegal, the Bombay High Court on Tuesday directed his release. It noted that the entire situation was handled in a knee jerk manner following a public outcry to try the juvenile as an adult.

It is the court’s bounden duty to prioritise justice above everything else, and that it was not swayed away by the uproar created because of the ghastly mishap, for which allegedly the minor is personally responsible and which has resulted in loss of two innocent lives, the court noted.

“Fiat Justitia Ruat Caelum, a latin phrase, which connote, “Let justice be done though the heavens fall”, clearly convey a principle in law, that justice must be realised regardless of consequences and Just decisions may be made at whatever cost it comes,” a bench of Justices Bharati Dangre and Manjusha Deshnapde said. It added: “We have all sympathies for the victim and their families but as a Court of Law, we are bound to implement the law as it stands.”

The HC disposed of the habeas corpus (produce person in court) petition filed by the juvenile’s paternal aunt. The 17-year-old, was allegedly drunk when the luxury car he was driving rammed into a two wheeler killing two persons. He is lodged at the observation home in Pune. Quashing the orders of Juvenile Justice Board (JJB) remanding him to the observation home,the HC noted the JJB's remand orders were illegal and passed without jurisdiction.

“We allow the petition and order his release. The CCL (Child in Conflict with Law) shall be in the care and custody of the petitioner (paternal aunt),” the bench said. Expressing displeasure over the manner in which the situation was handled by the authorities, the court said that action has to be taken in accordance with the law.

“Law enforcing agencies have succumbed to the public pressure, but we are of the firm opinion that the Rule of law must prevail in every situation, howsoever catastrophic or calamitous the situation may be and as Martin Luther King, has rightly observed, 'Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere',” the bench said.

It added, “We can only express our dismay and perturbation by describing the whole approach as an unfortunate incident and hope and trust that the future course of action to be chartered, shall be in accordance with existing provisions of law, avoiding any haste."

Noting that the remand order by the JJB were “absolutely illegal and are afflicted with vice of lack of jurisdiction”, the HC said: “The orders of remand were passed by the Board in an absolutely mechanical manner, without considering the most significant and pivotal fact that the CCL continue to be on bail and there is no cancellation or revocation of the order, enlarging him on bail.”

The court said the outcry, as a knee jerk reaction to the accident, resulting into a clarion call of “see the accused’s action and not his age”, will have to be overlooked upon assimilating that the CCL is a child under the Juvenile Justice Act (JJ Act).

“Being under 18 years and regardless of his crime, he must receive the same treatment, which every other child in conflict with law is entitled to receive,” the judges underlined. It highlighted that the purpose of the JJ Act is to ensure that children who come in conflict with law are dealt with separately and not like adults.

The courts are bound by law, the aims and objectives of the JJ Act and must treat him as any child in conflict with law separately from adult, despite the seriousness of the crime. The JJ Act is also a remedial one and rehabilitation and social integration is the hallmark of the juvenile justice legislation, with an individual care plan, preferably through family based care.

A child can be housed in an observation home only when he or she has not been released on bail. However, when bail has been granted, confining in an observation home is not permissible, the judges emphasised. While noting that the juvenile is already under rehabilitation, which is the primary objective, and is already referred to a psychologist, the court has said that he shall continue the same.

The boy's act was “reckless” but it must also take note of the “haphazard manner in which the entire prosecution agency approached the issue”, the judges highlighted. It added that the police were rattled by the public outcry.

“This is a classic case as to how the law enforcing as well as the law implementing agency reacted to the public outburst and treaded on a path of owing a moral responsibility of the CCL and his entire family, by alluding and questioning the upbringing of the the child belonging to the affluent family, by projecting their approach as having less regard to the lives of a common man on the road,” the court added.

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