"Victim Families Traumatised, But So Is Teen": High Court In Pune Porsche Case

Pune teen case: The court's observation came even as it acknowledged the families of the two killed are still facing mental and physical trauma over news of their deaths.

'Victim Families Traumatised, But So Is Teen': High Court In Pune Porsche Case

Pune Porsche case: The teen was reportedly driving at 200 km per hour.


The drunk Pune teen who killed two people - while driving his father's Rs 2.5 crore electric Porsche supercar - caused the accident but was probably in "shock" and it is natural, therefore, to assume his mental faculties would have been adversely affected, a division bench of the Bombay High Court said.

The court's observation came even as it acknowledged the families of the two killed - Aneesh Awadhiya and Ashwini Kosta - are still facing mental and physical trauma over news of their deaths.

The court was hearing a plea by the boy's aunt seeking his release on grounds his arrest - hours after a high-speed collision with a motorbike carrying two people - was "arbitrary and illegal", and that the police - who were heavily criticised for appearing to shield the boy, who is the son of an influential city builder - were guilty of "abuse of process and blatant disregard for the rule of law".

A bench of Justice Bharati Harish Dangre and Manjusha Deshpande reserved its order for Tuesday.

How Pune Teen Got Bail, Was Then Remanded

The Pune teen had received bail, within 15 hours of his arrest, on conditions that included writing a 300-word essay on road safety. The bail order led to public fury and the police sought to amend the order;

READ | Pune Teen Who Killed 2 With Porsche Sent To Remand Home

The bail order was modified and the boy - whose parents and paternal grandfather were also arrested, on charges they bribed cops and faked blood tests - was sent to a juvenile remand home.

READ | Pune Porsche Crash Case: Teen's Aunt Seeks His Release

Last week the teen's paternal aunt filed a habeas corpus plea before the High Court. She claimed the Juvenile Board's remand order was "in complete violation" of applicable laws.

Bail Order Amended, Not Cancelled: Petitioner

In today's hearing, the petitioner argued against modification of that bail order.

Appearing for the aunt, Senior Advocate Aabad Poonda said Section 104 of the Juvenile Justice Act does not allow for a minor accused on bail to be sent to an observation home until the earlier order is revoked. In this case, Mr Poonda said, the boy's bail order had been amended, not cancelled.

READ | Friends Of Pune Teen, In Porsche, Say He Was Drunk: Cops

"The basic rule is to grant bail to juveniles under the JJ Act. But if you want to put someone in jail, first you cancel bail. When police moved application under Section 104, Juvenile Board only amended earlier order. Only when bail is refused can minor be sent to observation home..."

Mr Poonda also flagged Section 39 of the JJ Act, which says a minor accused can only be sent to an observation home if bail is refused. "In this case bail was not refused..." he pointed out.

READ | With 7 Conditions, Teen Porsche Driver Got Bail On Granddad's Assurance

He also took up the issue of the arrest of the grandfather, into whose custody the teen had been released on bail. However, the grandfather is now in jail on charges that include threatening the driver into a fake confession. "As per Section 104 boy can be sent to other family members..."

"You cannot send a person to an observation home when he is on bail... he was sent for 14 days (custody later extended) and hence his liberty has been curtailed... that is why this plea."

Mr Poonda referred to the police's description of the incident as "heinous" and said, "Even if it is a heinous offense... I can't be kept behind bars without cancelling my bail."

"Absurd", Prosecution Retorts

Appearing for the prosecution, Advocate Hiten Venegavkar said particular circumstances - including the teen being under the influence of alcohol - had led the Juvenile Board to modify its order. The original, he argued, had been passed after authorities' failure in not reporting facts of the crime.

READ | Doctor Who Switched Teen's Samples Ran 'Blood Cleaning' Racket

The reference was to police officers who sought first to downplay the seriousness of the incident by not reporting the deaths to a control room and then delaying administering blood alcohol level tests.

READ | Cops Asked Teen What Happened In Porsche Crash. His Reply

"It is unfortunate our own people didn't present facts before the Juvenile Board on May 19. He was shown 'fit' and 'not under the influence of alcohol'. The circumstances presented that day led to pass the order being passed..." he said today, suggesting bail should never have been granted.

READ | 2 Cops Suspended For "Not Following Protocol" In Porsche Crash Case

On the petitioner's argument the teen cannot be sent to a remand home after bail is granted, the prosecution replied, "... this is completely absurd." "The minor accused was sent to an observation home, under the supervision of a probation officer, as per an amendment in Section 104."

The amendment says custody of the minor can change between family and probation officers.

The prosecution pointed out the original custodian of the child was the grandfather, but that he had since been arrested and is behind bars, as are the father and mother, leaving no 'fit' guardian.

"Free To Walk Out?" Court Asks

The court then asked the prosecution if, under the same amendment, the boy is, in fact, "free to walk out (of the observation home)" should a 'fit' family member assume responsibility.

READ | Pune Teen's Mother Part Of Family's Big Cover-Up Plan

"Yes he can... provided there is an application that a fit person is there to take custody. But, till now, there is no one who approached the Juvenile Board with any application for custody..."

"His father, mother, and grandfather all are in custody, so we kept him in an observation home..." Mr Venegavkar said, to which the petitioner shot back, "... there are other family members."

Juvenile Board Under Scanner

Meanwhile, last week a committee probing the Juvenile Board's handling of this case found lapses, including one by its sole non-judicial member, Dr LN Danwade, who gave the teen bail.

READ | Juvenile Board's Order In Pune Porsche Crash Faulty: Panel

The committee in a 100-page report to the Social Justice Department pointed to several red flags in the way Dr Danwade handled the matter, including not considering flaws in the blood report that did not come from the police.

NDTV is now available on WhatsApp channels. Click on the link to get all the latest updates from NDTV on your chat.