Chronology of Civil Appeal

Judgement Reserved

The Association of the victims of uphaar tragedy  (AVUT) filed a civil writ petition on 28th July 1997 in the Hon ‘ble  Supreme Court against 40 respondents which includes Sushil Ansal,Gopal Ansal,companies share holders,staff of uphaar cinema & various  government agencies , but the same was refered to delhi high court. the main prayer in writ of the association is as under:

  1. Direct the Union of INDIA to ensure that no cinema hall in the country is allowed to run without LICENCE GRANTED after strictly observing all the mandatory conditions prescribed under the law
  2. To award punitive damages against the Respondents to   pay sum of Rs 100 crores jointly or severally to AVUT for the purposes of setting up and augmenting the centralised accident and trauma services and other allied services in the city of Delhi under the supervision of the hon’ble delhi high court.
  3. To award damages against the Respondents jointly or severally to all the victims who lost their lives a sum of Rs 11.8 Crores with the directions to equally distribute the same to the first degree heirs of all the victims.
  4. Award damages against all the respondents jointly or severally to the tune OF RS 10.3 crores to the injured to be distributed evenly or as may be considered just and proper by the hon’ble court.

28. 07.1997:  Civil Writ filed by AVUT in Supreme Court

17. 10 1997: Case referred to Delhi High Court as the matter related to the parties coming under NCT of Delhi.

29. 02 2000: The Writ filed by AVUT is maintained.

17.08.2001: The Hon.ble Supreme Court of India rejected special Leave Petition No. 10288/2000 filed by Green Park Theatre Associates. against the maintainability order of Hon’ble Delhi High Court with following observation:

Considering the nature of the order passed by the High Court and

the arguments addressed before us, we do not think, there is any

justification for us to interfere with the order made by the High Court.”

17.09.2001: Special bench constituted (Justice S.K. Mahajan and Justice Mukul Mudgal)

09.10.2001

to

30.09.2002: The matter was being heard on day-to-day basis

24.04.2003: The Judgment was pronounced by the Hon,ble Justice S K Mahajan and Hon,ble Justice Mukul Mudgal. The salient features of the order are as follows:

The total compensation amount awarded was Rs 18.5 crores of which Rs 2.5 crores to be paid by Ansal Theatre & Clubotels (P) Ltd to Union Of India towards setting up of trauma centre in Delhi. . Of the balance amount the apportionment is as follows:

55% to be paid by Ansal Theatre & Clubotels (P) Ltd which owns Uphaar Cinema.

15% each to be paid by Delhi Vidyut Board, Deputy commissioner Police (Licensing) & Municipal Corporation of Department.

Rs 15,00,000 + 9% interest from the date of filing of the writ to the deceased below the age group of 20 yrs

Rs 18,00,000 + 9% interest from the date of filing of the writ to the deceased above the age group of 20 yrs

Rs  1,00,000 for Injured

Rs 2,50,00,000  to be paid by Ansals as Punitive damages to the Union of India  for the purposes of Trauma Centre.

8.09. 2003: The DCP (Lic) & MCD file Special Leave Petition in the Supreme Court and the leave is granted to them.

28.11.2003: Ansal Theatre & Clubotels (P) Ltd file Special Leave Petition in the Supreme Court and the Apex court has issued notices.

11.10.2004:     Hon’ble Supreme Court passed the following directions:

That the appellants shall, within a period of one month from today, deposit an amount of Rs.3,01,40,000/- (Rupees three crores one lakh & forty thousand) with the High Court.

That for the purpose of arranging the funds, the appellant shall be at liberty to offer the cinema building as security and raise money from the financial institutions.

That, other than offering the property as security for the purpose of raising the amount as aforesaid, the appellants shall not create any other encumbrance or any other third party interest in the cinema building.

That the order of the criminal court as to the sealing of the property and maintaining the same intact till the criminal trial is over, shall be meticulously observed.

That on amount being deposited, 50% of the amount deposited by the appellants shall be available for distribution to the claimants rateably. The balance amount shall be invested with a nationalised bank so as to be available for distribution consistently with the final decision of this court.

24.11.2009: The Appeals filed by Ansals ,MCD & DCP(Lic) came up for hearing

in front of  Hon’ble Justice Raveendran &  Hon’ble Justice Radhakrishnan.

The bench passed an order with following observation:

“The learned counsel for the Municipal corporation seeks 
accommodation till tomorrow for further arguments in the  
main appeal. 
  
We find from the interim order dated 11.10.2004 
that this court had directed the cinema theatre
owners to deposit into court 50% of the 55% compensation 
payable by them as per the judgment of the High court 
namely, Rs.3,0,1,40,000/-(Rupees three crores one lakh 
forty thousand), and further directed that out of the 
said amount to be deposited, 50% should be distributed 
to the claimants rateably and remaining 50% shall be
invested with the nationalized bank so as to available
for further disbursement. We find that when the said 
order for deposit was made, the court had proposed
to dispose of the matter immediately on the SLP
paper books. But thereafter the matter has been pending for  
five years.There is no justification for denying the victims
payment of least that part of the compensation which has been  
deposited by  the  theatre owners    in   the  court   and      
 invested   in  bank. Though there is a challenge to the 
quantum of the compensation that has been awarded, 
it cannot seriously be disputed that the amount deposited  
being less than 25% of what would be due as per the 
decision of High Court(compensation plus interest),
the same can be disbursed.Therefore, without prejudice 
to the contentions of the parties we are of the view
that the entire amount deposited by the theatre owner 
should bedisbursed.  We, therefore, modify the order 
dated 11.10.2004 with a direction to disbursethe 
remaining 50% of Rs.3,01,40,000/- which is kept 
in deposit with the accrued interest on the deposit, 
on pro rata basis among the claimants that is families 
of 59 persons who died in the accident and 103,
were injured in the accident.We are informed that 
even the 50% initially ordered on 11.10.2004 to be
distributed has not been distributed among    
all    the     victims       yet    as    the    process     
of verification is yet to be completed.The reason for the  
delay is stated to be the non-availability of the records 
which have been sent to this court. The counsel for the  
Association of Uphaar Tragedy Victims may furnish 
copies of the relevant papers to the Registrar of    the   
High   Court  in charge  of disbursement. The theatre 
owners and the police may also assist the Registrar in the   
verification  and    disbursement process. The   High   Court 
Registry should endeavour to complete the process of 
disbursement as per the order dated 11.10.2004 and 
also make the further pro rata distribution of the 
remaining 50% and interest thereon, as per this order, 
within a period of two months.  
 
In the meanwhile the cinema theatre owners shall 
further deposit the interest on Rs.3,01,40,000/-
(Rupees Three crores one lakh forty thousand) 
from 14.7.1997 to the the date of deposit @ 
9%   per  annum    before    the     High    Court    
within two   months. Permission is granted to offer 
the cinema theatre building as security for raising the said 
amount. 
 
The record of the S.D.M.if it has been received 
in this court  may    be    made   available to the   
High   Court   Registry   to complete the process of 
disbursement. 
 List for further hearing tomorrow.” 

16.12.2009: The Judgement was reserved with following

order from the court:

“Ms. Indra Jaising, learned ASG appearing for theLicensing Authority/ 
Central Government submitted that the Ministry of Home Affairs had  
deposited a sum of Rs.2.14 crores in pursuance of the judgment of  
the Delhi High Court subject to the outcome in these appeals; that  
the Central Government has instructed her that the said sum may be  
disbursed ex-gratia to the victims of the Uphaar tragedy pro rata  
subject to the following conditions:- 
(i)     that there is no admission of liability against the Commissioner  
of Police; 
(ii)    that    the   judgment    will     not   be   treated   as   a  
precedent insofar as  the liability    of   Licensing Authority; and 
(iii)     that the amount may be distributed to the victims as a gesture 
 of goodwill. Mr. A.K. Ganguli, learned senior counsel appearing for the    
 appellant in    C.A. No.6748    of 2004    (Ansals Theatres  and  Clubotels   
Pvt.Ltd.)     submitted that   the theatre owners would 
voluntarily deposit a sum of rupees three crores 
with the Registrar General, High Court of Delhi 
for  being   disbursed to   the    victims   of   Uphaar tragedy 
and the said payment would be made irrespective 
of the result of the present proceedings.
 
Mr. K.T.S. Tulsi, learned senior counsel appearing for 
the Association of Victims of Uphaar tragedy 
submits that the families of  victims are    not interested  
in accepting any payment from the theatre owners either as  
charity or  ex-gratia  and   they   will  receive from   the 
theatre owners only compensation in accordance with 
any direction of the Court. 
 
On 24/11/2009, before the arguments commenced, 
we had directed that without prejudice to the rights of 
the parties,the     amount    already      deposited by    
the    theater owners should be distributed pro rata 
among the victims after completing the process of verification. 
 
We direct the Registrar General, High Court of Delhi, 
that in addition to amount ordered to be disbursed 
in terms of the order dated 24/11/2009, the amount that 
is deposited by the Ministry of Home Affairs (Licensing Authority)  
as also a sum of rupees three crores which the theatre 
owners have agreed to deposit as   per memo filed 
today   may   also be disbursed pro rata.It is made clear 
that the amounts will be received by the victims 
without prejudice towards  the   amounts that  may be 
ultimately found due to them.
 
For expediting the process of disbursal, we direct  the Registrar 
General,High Court of Delhi to apportion the amounts in the 
following ratio: 
(i) one unit to each injured,    (ii)   eighteen   units   to   the   
families   of   each adult who died in the accident and (iii) fifteen units  
for the families of persons below 20 years who died in the accident.  
This means that total amount available “for    distribution shall    be    
disbursed  in    the    following ratio: 
  
(i)      The family of each adult who died       :       18/1096 
                        (36 cases) 
  
(ii)     The family of each deceased (less than 
                  20 years)      (23 cases)            :     15/1096 
  
  
(iii)    Each injured                           :        1/1096 
  
  
 Mr.     P.P. Malhotra, learned senior counsel appearing for  the    
 Delhi Vidyut Board submitted that whatever amounts that has been  
paid by them is without prejudice to its right to claim the same  
against the theatre owners. 
Judgment reserved.” 
  

 

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