After Urgency Plea, An Adjournment Request: Uphaar Matter Goes To Wednesday

After Urgency Plea, An Adjournment Request: Uphaar Matter Goes To Wednesday

On a request by Ram Jethmalani, the senior lawyer representing him, the Supreme Court today adjourned to Wednesday 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.

The bench of justices Ranjan Gogoi, Kurian Joseph and Adarsh Kumar Goel  had in a 2:1 majority verdict on February 9 granted relief to 76-year-old Sushil Ansal considering his "advanced age-related complications" by awarding him jail term already undergone and had asked his younger sibling Gopal to surrender in four weeks to serve remaining one-year jail term in the 20-year-old case.

Gopal Ansal had sought modification of its verdict asking him to serve the remaining jail term in the 1997 Uphaar theatre fire case in which 59 cine-goers lost their life.

He sought similar relief claiming that he was 69 years old and would suffer irreparable damage to his health if he is sent to jail.

Senior advocate K T S Tulsi, appearing for the Association for Victims of Uphaar Tragedy had strongly opposed the plea saying there cannot be a review of the review judgment.

As many as 59 people died and 100 were injured in the fire during the screening of Hindi blockbuster Border on the evening of June 13, 1997.

The fire started in the parking lot and then engulfed the building in the busy Green Park area.

CBI says the court had itself brought out the negligence on the part of Ansals saying most people died in the ensuing stampede or were asphyxiated as the escape routes were blocked by illegally fixed chairs.

The trial court had sentenced the duo to two years’ rigorous imprisonment in November 2007. But in December 2008, the Delhi High Court reduced their sentence to one year. While Sushil Ansal spent 5 months in jail, Gopal remained in jail for four months and 32 days.