Pune Porsche accident: Parents' negligence responsible for minor's crime.

Ananya Shroff
7 Min Read

New Delhi: The entire country is angry due to a horrific road accident that happened recently in Pune. It is being discussed everywhere. In this accident, a 17-year-old minor boy, allegedly drunk, hit two software engineers riding a bike, killing them. This incident also raises the question that what should be the accountability of minors and adults in such serious cases? There is a need to discuss this seriously. When it comes to juvenile crime, the mistake often made is that they do not understand the thinking behind their actions. Science says that the decision-making brain of minors is not as developed as that of adults. They get angry quickly and do not understand the consequences of their actions. Keeping this reason in mind, minors should be given less punishment than adults because their mental thinking is not fully developed. Although minors should definitely be punished for their actions, the adults who have influence over them and who can show them the right path are the ones most responsible for their mistakes. It is worth noting that according to the law, children below 18 years of age cannot drive a vehicle weighing more than 50 CC and they are only allowed to drive vehicles like Scooty or Luna.

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Mistake or heinous crime?

In this case, the minor has been charged under Section 304 of the IPC. This is the section under which negligence causes death but there is no intent to commit murder. The maximum punishment under this section can be 10 years. According to the Juvenile Justice Act, if the punishment for a crime is 7 years or more, then it is considered a 'heinous' crime. According to this law, minors can be tried like adults and can get severe punishment. But, before doing anything like this, it is important to understand the principles of the Juvenile Justice Act. This law focuses more on the reformation of minors than punishment. The law believes that minors cannot be considered as guilty as adults due to their age and mental development. In this case, it seems that the minor did not act out of any pre-planned conspiracy or bad intention, but out of gross negligence. Therefore, it would be better to call it a big mistake rather than a heinous crime.

Question on parental responsibility

The role of the father in this entire case clearly shows that he completely ignored the safety of both his son and the general public. Letting a minor drive so fast is the biggest example of negligence. Parents or guardians have the responsibility to take care of their children and prevent them from doing wrong things. Under Section 199A of the Motor Vehicles Act, if a minor is caught driving a vehicle and breaks the law, then the responsibility lies with the owner or guardian of the vehicle, unless he proves his innocence. Similarly, a lot of negligence was also shown at the place where the minor was given alcohol. By giving alcohol to the minor, he broke the law and also ignored the possibility of a terrible accident.

Government activism

After this incident, the system has woken up and taken strict measures. According to the rules of the Motor Vehicle Act, the minor will not be given a driving license until the age of 25 and that luxury car will not be registered in any RTO office for 12 months. The police have also charged the father and the employees there under sections 75 and 77 of the Juvenile Justice Act. Section 75 deals with the crime of negligently caring for children and section 77 deals with the crime of giving alcohol to children. These legal rules state that it is the responsibility of adults to protect minors from making mistakes, especially when they are unable to take the right decisions due to their young age.

The system was shaken by people's anger

In this case, people's anger has had a positive outcome. The police and local administration took immediate action. The place where minors were served alcohol has been sealed and the excise department has started special checks to ensure that the age limit is followed. Also, the license of any shop found breaking the rules will be cancelled. Although this kind of cooperation between departments is rare, it is very important. Only a joint effort by the state and district administration can prevent such incidents in the future. While strict punishment or prosecuting minors like adults may calm our anger, it does not help in making society safer.

Don’t take wrong decisions in anger

This anger is justified, people think that they are rich and influential so they will not get punishment. But anger should not lead to any mistake. Neither the boy's life should be ruined nor the innocent driver should be implicated, who is probably being pressured by the family to take the blame for the accident. We all know how rich people implicate the poor. This anger should be used for good work. Respecting the way the death happened, a way should be found so that such accidents do not happen in future. The minor should be punished keeping in mind his age and strict action should also be taken against careless elders and shops. Such a balanced decision will send the message that giving alcohol to minors and negligence of parents are both wrong and can be punished for this.

Neha Singhal is an independent legal researcher.

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