HC junks PIL seeking graver charge against Mumbai gynaecologist for Cyrus Mistry death | India News


MUMBAI: “We don’t find any public interest involved in the case,” said the Bombay high court on Tuesday and dismissed a public interest litigation (PIL) that sought a graver charge of culpable homicide not amounting to murder be invoked against city gynaecologist Dr Anahita Pundole for having allegedly rashly crashed the car that killed two including Cyrus Mistry last year.
“When Petition is being filed, pleadings are on oath. And they cannot be casual or wanton,’’ said the Acting Chief Justice S V Gangapurwala and Justice Sandeep Marne in its order.
Mistry was a former Tata Sons executive chairperson. The other victim in the September 4, 2022 crash near Surya river overbridge in Palghar district, was Jehangir Pundole, his friend. The car was being driven, said the police, by Dr Pundole and next to her sat her husband, both of whom had sustained injuries. The Paghar police filed a charge sheet this year invoking offence of death caused by rash and negligent act under section 304 A Indian Penal Code, a bailable offence attracting maximum two years’ imprisonment, among other offences, including under the Motor Vehicles Act.
Viquar Rajguru, advocate for the petitioner S S Jedhe contended that the PIL was maintainable, its “basis” was “confidential information’’ of her drinking at a café, the night before driving and thus had a ”hangover’’ when “she indulged in reckless driving and speeding risking life of two co-passengers.’’
The bench asked, “Who are you (the petitioner). How do you know that?’’ Rajguru said, “That’s why I am seeking CCTV footage of the cafe. And she was awake till 2 am,’’ He said, “Law enforcement is adopting twin standards one for influential persons and one for ordinary persons, She (Dr Pundole) has not yet even been arrested.’’ The FIR was filed two months after the crash advocates Rajguru and Sadique Ali had stated.
The ACJ at the hearing said, “Is it a PIL or a publicity interest litigation?’…you don’t have personal knowledge of anything.’’ Public Prosecutor Aruna Pai had last week submitted forensic reports showing zero alcohol content in Dr Pundole.
Senior counsel Rafique Dada who appeared for Darius Pundole and senior counsel Aabad Ponda for Dr Pundole sought dismissal of the PIL arguing that it was not maintainable and lacked merit. Ponda cited an April 2021 Supreme Court Judgment in Iffco Tokio case which held that a certain percentage of alcohol has to be found in a person before he can be prosecuted for ‘drunken driving.’ The percentage cannot exceed 30 mg per 100 ml of blood, said Ponda adding her report showed zero alcohol content, hence there was “no unfair treatment’’ or unfair application of law as alleged.
The HC In its order dictated in court said, “Even the pleading that she (Dr Pundole) was sitting at the cafe are not supported by any facts. The petitioner isn’t in the know of facts personally. Nor the petitioner is in any case remotely connect with present case.’’
The HC dismissing the PIL “with costs’’ said, “It ought not to have been filed that too on basis of such loose statements. The Charge Sheet is already filed.’’
The maximum punishment for culpable homicide not amounting to murder is 10 years in jail if it can be proved that the person had the knowledge that an action can cause death.

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