Pune Porsche crash: Minor released from observation home after Bombay HC quashes remand order as ‘illegal'

Observing that the custody order was illegal and passed without jurisdiction, the High Court directed him to be handed into the care of his paternal aunt.
The Porsche car driven by a 17-year-old boy which knocked down two motorbike riders in the Kalyani Nagar area of Pune city in the early hours of Sunday, causing their deaths.
The Porsche car driven by a 17-year-old boy which knocked down two motorbike riders in the Kalyani Nagar area of Pune city in the early hours of Sunday, causing their deaths. Photo| PTI

MUMBAI: The Bombay High Court on Tuesday ordered that a 17-year-old boy allegedly involved in the Porsche car accident in Pune last month be released immediately from an observation home.

The teen, who the police claim was drunk and driving the luxury car when it hit a two-wheeler in the early hours of May 19 killing two techies, was lodged at an observation home in Maharashtra's Pune city.

A division bench of Justices Bharati Dangre and Manjusha Deshpande quashed the orders issued by the Juvenile Justice Board (JJB) remanding the minor to the observation home.

"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 court said.

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The bench noted the JJB's remand orders were illegal and passed without jurisdiction.

The court said amid the "immediate reaction to the accident, the kneejerk reaction and the public outcry, the CCL's age was not considered." "The CCL is under 18 years old. His age needs to be considered," the bench said.

It said the court was bound by law, the aims and objectives of the Juvenile Justice Act and must treat him as any child in conflict with law separately from adult, despite the seriousness of the crime. "CCLs are to be considered differently," the HC said.

The court said the accused is already under rehabilitation, which is the primary objective, and he is already referred to a psychologist and the same shall be continued.

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The order was passed in a plea filed by the 17-year-old boy's paternal aunt, who claimed he was illegally detained and sought his immediate release.

The accident took place in the early hours of May 19.

The boy was granted bail the same day by the JJB and ordered to be under the care and supervision of his parents and grandfather.

The police later filed an application before the JJB, seeking amendment of the bail order.

On May 22, the board ordered the boy to be taken into custody and remanded him to an observation home.

The boy's aunt in the plea claimed that because of the public uproar coupled with political agenda, the police deviated from the right course of investigation with regard to the minor boy, thus defeating the entire purpose of the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act.

Speaking to the media about the case's development, Prashant Patil, the advocate for the minor accused, said, "The child in conflicting law was arrested on May 19, 2024 and was released on bail. After his release on bail on May 22, 2024, the Juvenile Justice Board (JJB) took custody of the child under a conflicting law."

"That particular custody was illegal per se. Today we challenged the three remands of the JJB before the High Court. The writ of Habeas Corpus was filed by the paternal aunt of the child in conflicting law. Section 12 of the particular act was the backbone of the writ and we argued that,, be it a bailable offence or a non-bailable offence, the code of CrPc does not apply to a child of conflicting law and thats why we requested his immediate release," he said.

"Today, the honourable Bombay High Court set aside those orders and ordered the immediate release of the child under conflicting laws," said Advocate Patil.

Maharashtra Chief Minister Eknath Shinde met the parents of the two engineers who died in the Pune Porsche crash case on Monday and assured them the guilty would not be spared.

Shinde met Omprakash Awadhiya, father of Anish Koshta, and Suresh Koshta, father of Ashwini Koshta, and consoled them. He said that the incident was unfortunate and that the culprits would be severely punished.

The Chief Minister stated on his 'X' handle, "We fully understand the grief caused by the sudden death of one's young children. So, we decided to provide Rs 10 lakh each from the Chief Minister's Relief Fund as a special consideration to the families of their two deceased children."

Shinde added that the government is making efforts to track down all the culprits and ensure that they are punished.

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