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Abuse of Power

Meet L N Danwade: The ‘Judge’ Who Believes a 300-Word Essay is Justice for Rash Driving Resulting in Two Deaths

Shockingly, this lenient decision was made while the principal magistrate and another judicial member were on holiday, leaving many to question the integrity and priorities of the judicial system.



Meet LN Danwade: The 'Judge' Who Believes a 300-Word Essay is Justice for Rash Driving Resulting in Two Deaths

Pune: In a decision that has left many in shock and disbelief, a Pune judge (L N Danwade according to The Indian Express) granted bail to a 17-year-old boy (Vedant Agarwal), the son of a real estate baron, who was involved in a fatal car accident that claimed two lives. The accident, which took place in the early hours of Sunday morning in Pune’s Kalyani Nagar area, saw a luxury Porsche driven by the teenager collide with a motorcycle, instantly killing Anis Awadhiya and Ashwini Koshta, both IT Professionals. The car was captured on CCTV travelling at an estimated speed of 200 kmph in a narrow lane.

Pune Police arrested the boy’s father from Maharashtra’s Aurangabad and also apprehended the owners of two bars where the minor was served alcohol. The crash, a tragic consequence of the teenager’s reckless celebration of his class 12 results, has now been transferred to Pune Police’s crime branch. Despite the gravity of the situation, the court’s response has been bafflingly lenient.

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Charged under sections 75 and 77 of the Juvenile Justice Act for willful neglect and providing intoxicating substances to a minor, the boy’s father finds himself in a dire legal situation. Meanwhile, the bar owners face charges for serving alcohol to the minor, blatantly violating the state’s legal drinking age of 25. Yet, amidst these serious allegations, the spotlight is on the astonishingly mild treatment of the teenage driver by the judiciary.

The 17-year-old, who celebrated his academic success at a local pub before getting behind the wheel, was swiftly produced before the holiday court. In a move that has sparked outrage, the court, represented by Dr. L.N. Danwade of the Juvenile Justice Board (JJB), granted the teen bail within 14 hours of the crime. The reasoning? The court did not consider the crime committed by the juvenile to be serious. It seems that speeding at 200 kmph and causing the deaths of two innocent IT engineers, who were merely returning from a get-together, somehow didn’t meet the threshold for severity.

The court’s conditions for bail border on the absurd. The young offender is required to “work with traffic police of Yerwada for 15 days,” write a 300-word essay on the “effect of road accidents and their solutions,” undergo treatment to quit drinking, and take psychiatric counselling. In what universe does penning a short essay equate to justice for the lives lost?

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Maharashtra Deputy Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis, who also holds Home portfolio, expressed his shock at the “extremely lenient” bail granted by the JJB. Fadnavis’s incredulity is shared by many who see this decision as a mockery of justice. The ruling was passed by Dr. Danwade, a non-judicial member of the JJB, as the Principal Magistrate and the second non-judicial member were absent due to a holiday. This holiday-related absence led to a ruling that appears as an insult to the memory of the victims and the grieving families left behind.

The critical question remains: how can a judiciary, even on a holiday, display such a flagrant disregard for justice? Dr. Danwade’s decision is not just a lapse in judgment but a glaring failure of the system meant to protect and serve the public. It seems the lives of Anis Awadhiya and Ashwini Koshta were deemed less significant than the convenience of court schedules.

As the public watches with bated breath, there is a growing demand for accountability and a re-examination of the bail granted to the minor. Until then, the families of Anis Awadhiya and Ashwini Koshta are left to grapple with their irreparable loss, exacerbated by a judicial system that appears to mock their suffering.

Justice, it seems, has taken a holiday.

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