With the Supreme Court tomorrow set to hear the plea filed by Uphaar Cinema co-owner Gopal Ansal seeking withdrawal of the order asking him to spend a year in jail, the Association of Victims of Uphaar Tragedy (AVUT) on their part filed a petition today seeking modification of the order setting free his elder brother Sushil Ansal after considering his sentence as the period already undergone in the 1997 Uphaar cinema fire case.
“Modify the judgment and order dated 09.02.2017 passed by this Hon’ble Court in Review Petition Nos. 712-714 of 2015 insofar as the sentence of imprisonment of Respondent No. 1, Sushil Ansal has been reduced to the period undergone and direct him to surrender immediately and finish the reminder of his sentence of one year”, said the modification application filed by AVUT.
Questioning the leniency shown by the bench on February 9 while setting free Sushil Ansal on account of his old age, the petition said” it is clearly evident from the aforesaid that respondents have never even attempted at any time to prove any medical complication.Their sole argument at every point has been confined to the ruse of old age, which can never be a ground for indulgence in reducing the sentence of a convict”.
“In other words, the sole ground for seeking indulgence of reducing sentence to the period undergone was only due to the prolonged trial faced by him which has rendered Sushil Ansal old. It is respectfully submitted that as per the settled principles of law on sentencing as laid down by this Hon’ble Court mandates that mere old age cannot be the sole criteria for reducing sentence awarded. In this behalf, reference may be made to the judgments reported as (2016) 1 SCC 583”, it added.
Blaming the Ansals themselves for the delay in trial, it said “It is also important to mention here that the prolonged trial in this case was the result of deliberate dilatory tactics of Sushil Ansal himself and therefore he cannot claim the benefit of old age after having deliberately dragged the proceedings for two decades”.
On a request by Ram Jethmalani, the senior lawyer representing him, the Supreme Court had yesterday adjourned to tomorrow the plea filed by business tycoon Gopal Ansal seeking withdrawal of the order sentencing him to one year in Uphaar Cinema tragedy case.
On Friday Jethmalani had sought urgent hearing of the matter after which it was posted for today.
Allowing adjournment Justice Ranjan Gogoi said the matter would be heard at 3pm on Wednesday.
Read the petition here.