Breaking News: Bombay High Court Directs Release of Underage Defendant in Pune Porsche Car Accident Case

the Bombay High Court directed the release of the minor involved in the Pune Porsche accident case to the custody of his paternal aunt. The decision came following a habeas corpus petition filed by the minor’s paternal aunt, challenging the remand orders issued by the Juvenile Justice Board (JJB) as illegal and beyond jurisdiction. The division bench comprising Justice Bharati Dangre and Justice Manjusha Deshpande granted the petition, ordering the minor’s release from the observation home where he is currently held.

The court has instructed that the counselling sessions with a psychologist, as ordered by the JJB, must continue after the minor’s release.In the hearing last week, the court raised concerns over the Juvenile Justice Board’s decision to remand the minor accused in the Pune Porsche accident case to an observation home despite being granted bail earlier.The bench remarked that the remand and its extension effectively negated the purpose of bail.

The bench had queried the authority to place a juvenile in an observation home after granting bail.

The court noted that concerns over potential mob violence prevented the minor from attending court-ordered counselling sessions.

The incident occurred on May 19, 2024, involving a 17-year-old son of a prominent Pune builder. Allegedly driving a Porsche Taycan while intoxicated, he lost control and collided with a motorcycle in the Kalyani Nagar area. Tragically, the collision claimed the lives of two individuals who later succumbed to their injuries.

The Juvenile Justice Board (JJB) granted bail to the minor driver on May 19, 2023, shortly after the fatal accident. However, on May 22, 2024, the JJB ordered the teenager accused to be placed in an observation home. His remand was subsequently extended. In related cases, his parents and grandfather are also in custody. Last week, a Pune court granted bail to the father in a case under the Motor Vehicles Act.

The court observed that the prosecution did not file any application to revoke the minor’s bail and indicated it would not deny relief on the grounds of procedural issues.

Senior Advocate Aabad Ponda, representing the petitioner, contended that once bail is granted to a juvenile, placement in an observation home is not permissible. He stressed that the bail remains in effect to date, with no rearrest on additional charges nor any cancellation by a higher court.

Ponda argued that the minor was unlawfully detained. He pointed out that instead of challenging the bail order, authorities submitted an application citing various concerns such as public outcry and the minor’s alleged addiction. Ponda contended that placing the minor in an observation home while on bail is not allowed under Section 39(2) of the JJ Act. He emphasized that ordering remand without canceling bail is impermissible even under strict laws like MCOCA or TADA, let alone the JJ Act.

Public Prosecutor Hiten Venegavkar argued that the juvenile was released into the custody of a responsible person, his grandfather, and not on his own bail bond. He asserted that because the grandfather and parents were in custody, the minor needed to be placed in an observation home under the supervision of a probation officer. Venegavkar stated that the JJB simply changed the custodial arrangement for the minor.

Venegavkar emphasized that the state did not seek to revoke the bail, but sending the minor to the observation home was deemed necessary for his safety and well-being. He cited Section 104 of the JJ Act, noting that not only the availability of a responsible person but also other surrounding circumstances had to be considered.

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