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Uphaar Case: SC assures early open Court hearing of review petitions

Apoorva Mandhani
17 March 2016 3:28 PM GMT
Uphaar Case: SC assures early open Court hearing of review petitions
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A Division Bench of the Supreme Court on Thursday reportedly assured the Association of Victims of Uphaar Tragedy (AVUT) that the review petition of its 2015 verdict will be accorded an early open court hearing.

The Bench, comprising Chief Justice T.S. Thakur and Justice U.U. Lalit assured the counsel for AVUT that it will take up the plea probably after Holi vacations, along with Justice A.R. Dave, who is heading the bench hearing a similar petition filed by the Central Bureau of Investigation.

18 years after a massive fire at a theatre in New Delhi’s posh Green Park area stubbed out 59 lives, the Supreme Court last year let off cinema owners Sushil Ansal and his brother Gopal Ansal merely asking them to pay a fine of Rs 30 crore each to the government within three months.

While disposing of an appeal filed by the brothers, a Division Bench of the Court comprising Justice T.S. Thakur and Justice G.S. Misra had on March 5, 2014 upheld their conviction for causing death due to negligence, but had left the decision of sentence to a larger bench following difference of opinion between the judges.

Deciding the quantum of punishment, a three Judge Bench comprising Justice A.R. Dave, Justice Kurian Jospeh and Justice A.K. Goel had accepted the argument put forth by Advocate Ram Jethmalani that the brothers be let off, considering their age and the period of the imprisonment they have already undergone. While Sushil Ansal had spent 5 months in jail, Gopal had remained in jail for four months and 32 days. You may read the LiveLaw article here.

The kin of the deceased that expressed shock and despair over the verdict and the AVUT, along with CBI had filed review petitions soon after. The review petitions contend that the sentence awarded to the brothers is inadequate and against the principles of natural justice. CBI was of the view that the Judges had let off the accused with fine, without considering several aspects dealt with by the Bench which had convicted the Ansals.

“The sentences imposed on the convicts, Sushil Ansal and Gopal Ansal, have been substituted with fine without assigning any reason or basis thereof. The sentences of the said convicts have been reduced to the period undergone without taking into account the gravity of their offence. The orders under review run contrary to the well established jurisprudence of the principles of sentencing as followed so meticulously by this Hon’ble Court,” the review petition states.

You may read: Uphaar ‘Re’tragedy: Judge centric sentencing & Future course By: Namit Saxena

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