EXCERPTS FROM THE ORDER OF THE TRIAL COURT DT.20.11.2007 WITH RESPECT TO SUSHIL ANSAL & GOPAL ANSAL
SUSHIL ANSAL AND GOPAL ANSAL
The accused Sushil Ansal and Gopal Ansal have been charged under Section 304A IPC read with section 36 IPC, which charge has been affirmed by the Hon’ble High court of Delhi vide order 11.09.01 and 13.05.01 respectively dated They have also been charged under section 337/ 338 IPC read with section 36 IPC . They have also been charged for offence punishable under section 14 of the Cinematograph Act 1952 .
It is already held herein before that accused Sushil Ansal and Gopal Ansal were at the helm of affairs of Uphaar cinema . They were de-facto supervising and looking after the management of Uphaar cinema in all respects at all material times from the beginning till the occurrence in question. The license for running the cinema hall was granted in the name of accused Sushil Ansal as the representative licensee and it remained in his name at all times.
The occurrence of the incident started from the transformer. It became the direct and proximate cause of death of the patrons sitting in the balcony. Accused Gopal Ansal and Sushil Ansal allowed the installation of the transformer in the premises of Uphaar cinema in order to obtain the electricity connection in the cinema. The accused knew that the position/installation of transformer was not in accordance with Bureau of Indian Standards/sanction plan. It was also not in accordance with Rules of electricity under the Electricity Act and other laws of Bureau of Indian standard . The rules were violated by keeping the HT and LT wires in the same room. Even the transformers were installed side by side and no fire resistant wall was provided. No soil pit was provided to soak the oil flowing from the transformer. There was no provision of complete isolation of each transformer including control pilot and inter locking circuit. The ventilation i.e free circulation of air on all sides of the transformer wasn’t there. Even parapet wall was raised upto the ceiling against the rules which obstructed the flow of smoke in the atmosphere and instead went into balcony on the day of incident. Due passage between the walls and the transformer wasn’t there. Consequently efficient cooling from inlets of air near the outlet provided to enable the heated air to escape and be replaced by cool air was lacking. It is the accused Sushil Ansal and Gopal Ansal who were responsible for installation of transformer in aforesaid manner against Electricity Rules framed under the Electricity Act and sanction plan of the building.
It is at the instance of accused Sushil Ansal that the premises of Uphaar cinema was let out to various tenants. The unauthorized structures as noted in the chapter of ‘structural deviations’ were carried out at the instance of accused Sushil Ansal and Gopal Ansal. The license to exhibit cinema was violated in the matter of seating arrangement of the balcony and in the alteration of gangways at the instance of accused Sushil Ansal and Gopal Ansal. Temporary permits were obtained instead of regular license by the accused Sushil Ansal and Gopal Ansal in connivance with the authorities. No directions by the accused Sushil Ansal and Gopal Ansal were ever given to the Parking contractor at the time of entering into the contract with him in 1988 or thereafter at any time , that the vehicles should be parked at a distance of 16 ‘ from the transformer room as per sanction plan. In fact the cars were parked as near as 3′-4′ from the transformer which resulted in adding fuel to the fire on the day of the incident. Thus the positive act of structural deviations, change in the gangways and seating arrangements of balcony which obstructed the egress of patrons from the balcony on the day of the incident were done at the instance of accused Sushil Ansal and Gopal Ansal. The positive act of letting the premises of Uphaar cinema and the deviations in the staircase, which blocked the passage for the patrons to reach to the terrace to save themselves, was done by these accused . These accused also committed acts of omission in allowing the fuel material to be collected in the basement and other places in the building. These acts can be described as omission to perform the legal duties as envisaged by the Delhi Cinematograph Act and Delhi Cinematograph Rules.
I therefore hold the accused guilty of offence under section 304A read with section 36 IPC for causing the death of 59 persons by their their gross negligent acts and omissions as stated above. Since on account of act and omissions of accused Sushil Ansal and Gopal Ansal injuries were caused due to the incident , the accused are also held guilty under section 337/338 IPC. I also hold them guilty under section 337/338 IPC for causing injuries to the patrons of the cinema hall who had visited the cinema on the date of incident .
The accused have also been charged for the contravention of provisions of Delhi Cinematograph Rules, 1953 and Delhi Cinematograph Rules 1981. The accused by changing the seating arrangements of the balcony and causing structural deviations and obstructing the flow of the patrons in the stairs have also violated Rule 14 of Delhi Cinematograph Rules , 1981 and thereby also committed offence punishable under section 14 of Delhi Cinematograph Act. The accused are held guilty accordingly for violation of Rule 14 of Delhi Cinematographic Rules, 1981 and are held guilty for the offence punishable under section 14 Cinematographic Act, 1952.