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Pune Porsche case: Bombay HC says JJB remand illegal, orders release of minor boy

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Mumbai, June 25: Terming the remand orders passed by the Juvenile Justice Board Pune as ‘illegal’, the Bombay High Court on Tuesday ordered the release of a 17-year-old minor boy accused in the alleged drunken driving case of his Porsche car which killed two persons on May 19.

Allowing a petition filed by the boy’s paternal aunt, Pooja G. Jain, a division bench comprising Justice Bharati Dangre and Justice Manjusha Deshpande directed the release of the minor boy, and to be given into the care and custody of the petitioner.

The boy has been lodged in a juvenile correctional home in Pune for over a month and soon afterwards, his ‘buwa’, Pooja Jain had filed the petition in Bombay High Court seeking his release. Declaring the JJB’s remand orders (of May 22, June 5 and June 12) as ‘illegal and without jurisdiction’, the high court, however, directed that the counselling sessions by a psychologist shall continue even after the boy is set free.

Official sources indicated to IANS that the minor boy is likely to be released ‘either today or tomorrow’, and depending on the government’s stand, a decision would be taken on the high court order.

During the hearings, the high court queried how and under what authority the JJB could remand the boy to a juvenile observation home after he had already been released on bail on May 19, (hours after the Porsche accident), and observed that the remand order and its subsequent extensions had completely nullified the bail effects.

Arguing for bail for the minor boy, Jain’s lawyer, advocate Abad Ponda, said that once a juvenile has been granted bail he cannot be remanded to an observation home, and emphasised that the bail was operative till date, since the boy had not been re-arrested on any additional charges nor was the bail given to him cancelled by a higher court.

Accordingly, the boy remained under ‘illegal detention’, and Ponda pointed out that instead of challenging the bail order, the authorities had filed an application mentioning concerns like public outrage and the minor’s alleged addiction. Ponda further contended that the boy could not be sent to the correctional facility while on bail under the Juvenile Justice Act, Section 39(2) and the order of remand without cancelling bail is not allowed even under other stringent laws like TADA or MCOCA.

Opposing the plea, Public Prosecutor Hiten Venegaonkar said that the boy was released in the custody of his grandfather and not on his own bail bond, but since the grandfather and even the parents were in custody, the minor had to be sent to the observation home under the supervision of a probation officer.

Submitting that the JJB had just changed the person under whose care the minor was put, Venegaonkar said that the state does not want to cancel the boy’s bail but sent him to the juvenile home for his own safety and wellbeing, given various other considerations.

IANS

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