Taking suo motu notice of the Alister Pereira case, the Bombay High Court on Thursday pulled up the prosecution for its 'pathetic' handling of investigations and raised questions of miscarriage of justice after the 21-year-old got away with a light punishment for running over seven labourers in a car accident.
In a hard hitting observation, a Division Bench comprising Chief Justice Swatanter Kumar and Justice S C Dharmadhikari said, "There can't be a greater slur on the system."
The court, while calling for the records of the case, issued notices to the state government, the kith and kin of victims and others injured in the accident.
"Why this court should not examine the correctness, legality and propriety of findings and judgement of the sessions court," the bench asked, seeking reply from all parties by May 3.
"Does the ends of justice require this court to pass any direction keeping in view the conduct of investigating and prosecuting agencies in this matter," the judges asked in the notice.
After Pereira, whose speeding car killed seven labourers sleeping on the pavement in suburban Bandra on November 2 , got away with a mere six months simple imprisonment, the role of police and prosecution has come under attack.
Eight pesons were also injured in that accident.
The court also sought a reply from the state as to whether any order should be passed by the court to prevent 'miscarriage of justice, if any' in the trial conducted by the lower court.
The high court has also asked why Pereira and his accomplices be not directed to compensate the victims, since the latter are labourers who can 'ill-afford access to procedures of law and justice' for claiming compensation.
The high court also ordered that Pereira should not leave the jurisdiction of the court and deposit his passport with the senior inspector of Khar police station.
On April 13, Additional Sessions Judge A G Mishra of Sewri Sessions Court convicted Alister under Sec 304 A (death due to negligence not amounting to culpable homicide) and 337 (causing injury) of Indian Penal Code.
But the court did not convict Pereira under the more stringent sections of the IPC, such as culpable homicide and causing greivous injury, as the prosecution failed to furnish sufficient evidence.
He is at present out on bail for one month.
Pereira was driving home with friends in the wee hours of November 12, 2006, when he lost control of his car and ran over labourers sleeping on the pavement of the Carter Road promenade in Bandra killing seven and injuring eight persons.
The sessions judge strongly criticised the police for it's 'casual approach to the investigations'.
The court noted that despite accusing Periera of driving under the influence of alcohol they had failed to produce the required certificate from a doctor.
The court also pointed out that despite seven persons having sustained injuries in the case, the prosecution had produced only a referral letter written by a doctor at the hospital as a result of which it could not be proved that they had sustained grievous injuries.