Ansal brothers move SC for desealing of Uphaar theatre

Ansal brothers move SC for desealing of Uphaar theatre

Real estate barons Sushil Ansal and Gopal Ansal on Monday moved Supreme Court seeking de-sealing of the Uphaar cinema hall where 59 cine-goers had lost their lives in 1997 in a blaze when a Hindi movie was being screened.

A Bench comprising Chief Justice T S Thakur and Justices D Y Chandrachud and L Nageswara Rao said it will discuss the matter with Justice A R Dave, who had heard the petition in the case.

Senior advocate Salman Khurshid, appearing for Ansals, mentioned the matter for urgent hearing and said the fresh plea of Ansals could be heard together with other petitions including those filed by CBI and the Association of Victims of Uphaar Tragedy (AVUT) in the case.

Justice Dave, who headed the three-judge Bench, which had heard the matters in the Uphaar case, is set to demit office on November 18.

Earlier this year, a three-judge Bench comprising justices Dave, Kurian Joseph and A K Goel had decided to hear in an open court the petitions filed by CBI and the AVUT seeking review of its 2015 verdict by which Sushil and Gopal Ansal were required to serve two-year jail term if they failed to pay Rs 30 crore each. The Ansals have deposited the amount.

59 people had died of asphyxia when a fire broke out during the screening of Bollywood movie Borderin Uphaar theatre in Green Park area of South Delhi on June 13, 1997.

Over 100 were also injured in the subsequent stampede.

The review plea filed by AVUT had said the apex court judgments “bestow an unwarranted leniency on convicts whose conviction in the most heinous of offences has been upheld by all courts including this court and sentences imposed on them have been substituted with fine without assigning any reason or basis.”

“The sentences of the convicts have been reduced to the period undergone without taking into account the gravity of their offence,” it had said.

The CBI, in its review plea, had said the apex court did not give it time to put its views forth which has resulted in “miscarriage of justice.”

“Due to the paucity of time on the day on which this case was heard, the prosecution could not adequately put across the reasons why this court should not substitute a monetary fine in place of a jail sentence.

“This petition also seeks to raise issue of an apparent error of law in the judgement and order of this court which has occasioned a grave miscarriage of justice,” the agency had said in its plea.

Source: The Hindu

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