The Supreme Court today, has dismissed the curative petition filed by the Association for Victims of Uphaar Tragedy in the 1997 Uphaar cinema fire tragedy case.
The bench comprising of Chief Justice SA Bobde, Justices NV Ramana and Arun Mishra while dismissing the curative petition filed by AVUT, has further spared the jail term of Ansal brothers, Sushil and Gopal Ansal.
“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,” stated the bench.
Around 23 years ago, on 13 June 1997, halfway through the screening of Hindi film ‘Border’, a fire broke out in Uphaar Cinema, which was owned by the industrialists, Sushil and Gopal Ansal. 59 people died of asphyxia, while over 100 others were injured in the ensuing stampede.
In 2015, the trial court held the two Ansal brothers guilty of ‘criminal negligence’ in this case and convicted them. However, later in 2015, the Supreme Court had allowed the Ansal brothers to walk free with a fine of Rs 60 crore. Reportedly, they had served a jail term between four to five months during the protracted legal wrangle since 1997.
Two years later, the Supreme Court, sent Gopal Ansal, to one year in jail in connection with the case, however, it refused to give any incarceration to the other accused, 78-year-old Sushil Ansal, considering his “advanced age-related complications.”
Thus, the Association for Victims of Uphaar Tragedy, through its president Neelam Krishnamoorthy, had sought reconsideration of the verdict by filing the curative plea. However, the Supreme Court has refused to reconsider its verdict stating that there is no merit in the curative pleas and also turned down a request for allowing a hearing in the open court.
A curative petition is the final legal remedy in the top court. It is considered by the judges in their chambers unless otherwise allowed to be heard in the open court. Dismissal of the curative petitions marks the end of the legal battle for the victims of the fire tragedy.