In a major judgement, the Supreme Court on Thursday dismissed the curative petitions filed by the victims of 1997 Uphaar Cinema fire tragedy case seeking more jail time for the entrepreneur brothers Sushil Ansal and Gopal Ansal for negligence.
The plea was filed by the Association for Victims of Uphaar Tragedy (AVUT) in Uphaar cinema where a fire killed 59 people during the screening of Hindi movie ‘Border’ on June 13, 1997, in the Green Park area of Delhi.
A bench of Chief Justice SA Bobde and Justices NV Ramana and Arun Mishra observed that the curative petition filed by the AVUT has “no merit”.
“We have gone through the curative petitions and the relevant documents. In our opinion, no case is made out… Hence, the curative petition is dismissed,” the bench said in its order.
In 2015, a trial court had convicted the Ansal brothers, who owned the theatre. However, it had spared them a jail term due to their age. Later in 2017 when the matter went to the Supreme Court, it had sent Gopal Ansal to jail for one year, sparing Sushil Ansal considering his old age (79). The entrepreneur brothers were found guilty of “death by negligence” and were asked to pay Rs 30 crore each.
A short-circuit led to a massive fire inside the upmarket south Delhi cinema hall that was packed to its full capacity.
Exit gates locked from outside, a mad scramble, and noxious smoke led to asphyxiation of 59 people and injured over 100 in a disaster which shook not just the city but the entire country.