AVUT PRESS RELEASE 13.06.2013

 

 

13.06.2013

 

 

PRESS RELEASE

 

 

For 16 long years the Association of Victims of the Uphaar Tragedy (AVUT)  has been fighting to get justice for their loved ones who were killed on June 13th, 1997 at Uphaar Cinema, New Delhi in one of the worst manmade tragedies.

 

AVUT invested its faith in the Criminal Justice System and took up an arduous and agonizing fight for justice in the hope that it would get speedy justice for those who were killed in the tragedy.  Sixteen years into fighting the case have put paid on any hope for speedy justice. All that is left is to see if justice will ever be done.

 

You may well ask why, having lost everything that matters in the Uphaar fire, did AVUT take on this long legal battle? AVUT’s endeavor is to ensure that people who are responsible for such manmade tragedies are duly penalized in a manner that acts as a deterrent in the future. The nation has witnessed many manmade tragedies in the last one and half decades since the Uphaar fire in which 59 people who had come to watch the premiere of the film, Border, perished. It is with utmost pain that the members of AVUT have come to realize that for India’s policy makers and decision makers, human life is very cheap.

In this grim scenario, incidents of such catastrophic magnitude are bound to recur since there is no legal deterrent that can instill fear in the minds of those who willfully or casually inflict harm. The need of the hour is to have appropriate legislation to tackle such manmade tragedies and put in place appropriate judicial mechanisms that force offenders to think twice before indulging in acts of omission and commission that can endanger human life.

 

In the year 2009, AVUT appealed to Smt Sonia Gandhi to bring in a new legislation to deal with manmade disasters but no concrete steps have been taken by the government in this direction in the four years since this appeal was made. The life and safety of citizens is not a priority.

Despite Hon’ble Supreme Court’s directions in their judgement dated 13.10.2011 in the Uphaar Fire Tragedy case  to bring in appropriate legislation to deal with claims in Public Law for violation of Fundamental Rights guaranteed  to citizens at the hands of the state and its officials, no concrete steps have been taken to bring in a legislation.

Our lawmakers have not learnt from their  counterparts in other countries who have dealt sternly and swiftly to deal with tragedies involving human lives. In the recent judgement by an Italian court in the  Asbestos case, the courts have  sentenced  the accused to 18 years  in jail and have ordered him to pay tens of millions of Euros to local authorities  and the victim’s family. The owner of the República de Cromañón nightclub in Buenos Aires was sentenced to 20 years in prison for the 2004 blaze that killed 194 music fans. These verdicts are in sharp contrast to the conservative judgements passed by our courts. In the Bhopal Gas Tragedy,  Uphaar fire tragedy and other manmade tragedies in India where hundreds of  innocent lives were lost, the perpetrators of the crimes have been charged under Section 304A IPC, which has a maximum punishment of a mere 2 years.

 

In our country, the lawmakers and the courts react only when there is public outrage, the most recent example being the Nirbhaya case. After sustained expressions of public outrage, an anti rape law has been enacted and fast track courts have been set up to deal with such cases. We fail to understand why the victims of manmade tragedies have to wait for decades to get justice when the country has witnessed tragedy after tragedy resulting in the loss of thousands of precious lives.

 

Public memory is distressingly short. People have forgotten and moved on but the family members of the departed gather on June 13th  every year to pray for the peace of the departed souls. However, there can be no peace without justice.  It is this truth, however ugly, but told with unflinching honesty, that can heal their unassuaged agony. And for justice to be delivered to the unfortunate victims of the Uphaar tragedy, the leaders, the courts and the people of this nation need to stand tall on the side of justice.

 

Members of AVUT once again appeal to the country’s policy makers to implement stringent laws to deter and avert such manmade tragedies so that in future, precious human lives are not lost.

 

 

 

NEELAM KRISHNAMOORTHY

PRESIDENT

9871445566/9810189361

 

Visit: http://www.rememberuphaar.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

AVUT PRAYER MEET: 16th Death Anniversary of Uphaar Fire Victims

AVUT PRAYER MEET: 16th Death Anniversary of Uphaar Fire Victims

Thursday, 13th June, 2013 AT 9 a.m.

VENUE: “SMRITI UPAVAN”- GREEN PARK EXTENSION, OPP.UPHAAR CINEMA.

16 years later justice still remains a mirage for the Uphaar fire victims. There can be no Peace without justice for our loved ones.   

To commemorate the 16th death  anniversary of the 59 precious lives lost in the Uphaar fire, the Association is holding a Havan & Shanti Path   at “Smriti  Upavan”  opposite Uphaar Cinema, Green Park Extension, New   Delhi  .

 

NEELAM KRISHNAMOORTHY

PRESIDENT – AVUT

MOBILE: 9871445566/9810189361

Visit: www.rememberuphaarsite.wordpress.com

STATUS OF VARIOUS CASES PERTAINING TO UPHAAR FIRE TRAGEDY

 

STATUS OF VARIOUS CASES PERTAINING TO UPHAAR FIRE TRAGEDY AS ON 13.06.2013

CRIMINAL CASE PERTAINING TO TAMPERING OF EVIDENCE PENDING IN THE COURT OF ACMM PATIALA HOUSE

  • The matter regarding tampering of evidence was brought to the knowledge of the Trial Court Judge by the CBI Spl PP on 20.01.2003.
  • The tampered documents   had direct bearing on the culpability of the offences of the three accused persons namely Sushil Ansal, Gopal Ansal & H S Panwar.
  • AVUT moved the Trial Court for cancellation of bail of Sushil & Gopal Ansal but the application was dismissed by the trial Court.
  • AVUT approached the Hon’ble High Court and an order was passed directing the EOW Delhi Police to lodge an FIR .
  • An FIR No.207 dt 17.5.2006 was lodged u/s 109/409/201/120B IPC and investigation was conducted by EOW Crime Branch Delhi Police.
  • On 12.02.2007 Charge Sheet was filed by EOW Crime Brach Delhi Police against Dinesh Chandra Sharma Record Keeper in the court of ASJ Patiala House.
  • On 17.01.2008 supplementary Charge Sheet was filed by EOW Delhi at the ACMM court Patiala House u/s 109/409/201/120B IPC against Sushil Ansal, Gopal Ansal ,Anoop Singh,PP Batra D V Malhotra & H S Panwar.
  • On15.02.2008 the Ld. ACMM Mr Guhar took cognizance and summoned all the accused.
  • In the month of April 2008 4 accused including Sushil Ansal & Gopal Ansal approached the Hon’ble High Court with a prayer to stay the summoning order of the ACMM. The application of all the accused were dismissed on 3.09.2009 and a cost of Rs 25,000/- was imposed on all the accused.
  • The matter is pending before the Ld CMM Patiala House Court.
  • The` arguments for framing of charges  advanced by the prosecution on 31st May 2013. The next date of hearing is16.07.2013.
  • Charges yet to be framed

 

AMOD KANTH :SUMMONED AS AN ACCUSED IN UPHAAR FIRE TRAGEDY CASE.MATTER PENDING IN THE COURT OF ACMM SAKET

  • On 11.02.2004 AVUT filed an application under section 319 for summoning Jt CP Amod Kanth as an accused for allowing additional seats in the balcony of Uphaar cinema in the year 1979.
  • The addition of the seats allowed by Amod Kanth blocked the gangway on the right hand side of the balcony which was in contravention of rules. He also overlooked the closure of the right hand side exit which was in contravention of rules, which was converted into a family box. The closure of the gangway and the non availability of the exit on the right hand side was the prime cause for the death of 59 innocent lives.
  • On 23.11.2007 the Ld Trial Judge vide its judgement had ordered further investigation of the offences in terms of section 173(8) Cr PC.
  • On   19.12.2008 the Hon’ble High Court vide its Judgement had observed that the evidence gathered  and placed before the court showed that there were glaring lapses in the Licensing department, the MCD  and DVB and directed CBI that so far as the directions given by  the Trial Court are concerned CBI shall complete the task in time bound manner and report its conclusions to the trial court by 15.03.2009.
  • On 05.03.2009 CBI filed a Closure Report in the court of Ld ASJ stating that no criminal acts were found against any of the officials of any department other than the 16 persons charge sheeted in the main case.
  • On 03.06.2009 AVUT filed a protest Petition.
  • Ld MM of Patiala House Courts on 12.08.2010 summoned Amod Kanth to stand trial for the offence u/s 304A,337,338 IPC and section 14 of the Cinematograph Act.
  • Amod Kanth has approached the Hon’ble High Court on 26.08.2010 for setting aside the said order on the ground that no sanction u/s 197 Cr PC has been obtained.No stay was granted.The next date of hearing is 05.07.2013
  • AVUT appealed to the Hon’ble Home Minister Shri. P. Chidambaram in the month of September 2010 to intervene to grant sanction for prosecuting Amod Kanth as per law failing which justice will continue to elude the victims. The Home Ministry in their reply has said that since the matter is subjudice they cannot intervene.
  • AVUT filed a CWP on 26.08.2011 under Article 226 & 227 of the Constitution of India seeking directions to call upon the respondents union of India through Ministry of Home Affairs & CBI to produce official records of communication between them & direct the Union of India through Ministry of Home Affairs to reconsider the question of sanction to prosecute Amod Kanth . The Hon’ble High Court has called for the records from the Home Ministry.  
  • The ACMM Saket Courts  has fixed the matter for argument on charge  for 3rd August  2013

NEELAM KRISHNAMOORTHY v/s SUSHIL ANSAL & ORS u/s 188,506 & 509 IPC

( CRIMINAL INTIMIDATION & OUTRAGING MODESTY OF WOMEN)

  • On a complaint given by Neelam Krishnamoorthy to the Court of Ld. ASJ Ms Mamta Sehgal Patiala House with regard to  staff of Ansal’s who misbehaved and threatened  her in the court premises.
  •  The matter was sent to the Administrative Head of the Court Ms Kamini Lau Ld ACMM.
  • The Ld ACMM on the basis of the complaint summoned Sushil Ansal,Gopal Ansal,PP Batra and Praveen Sharma u/s  188,506 & 509 IPC on 19.06.2007.
  • All the accused approached the Hon’ble High Court for Ex Parte stay. The same was granted on 3rd July 2007 and the matter is pending for last  six years.
  • The next date of hearing is 21.08.2013 in the Hon’ble High Court.

 

 

 

  CRIMINAL APPEAL IN HON’BLE SUPREME COURT :ARGUMENTS CONCLUDED AND JUDGEMENT RESERVED ON 17.04.2013

 

SR. NO.

ACCUSED

CONVICTION & SENTENCE  BY TRIAL COURT (20.11.2007)

CONVICTION BY HIGH COURT

(19.12.2008)

1.

SUSHIL  ANSAL

Owner ( Uphaar Cinema)

Ss. 304A, 337,338 r/w 36 IPC S.14 OF CA 1952

TWO YEARS

Ss. 304A, 337,338 r/w 36 IPC

S.14 OF CA 1952 .  SENTENCE REDUCED TO ONE YEAR

2.

GOPAL ANSAL

Owner ( Uphaar Cinema)

Ss. 304A, 337,338 r/w 36 IPC S.14 OF CA 1952 TWO YEARS

Ss. 304A, 337,338 r/w 36 IPC

S.14 OF CA 1952. SENTENCE REDUCED TO ONE YEAR

3.

N S Chopra( Manger Uphaar)

S.304 r/w 36 IPC

ACQUITTED BY HIGH COURT

4.

MANMOHAN UNIYAL

(gate Keeper Uphaar)

S.304 r/w,337,338 36 IPC SEVEN YEARS

S.304 A,337,338 r/w 36 IPC. SENTENCED FOR TWO YEARS

5.

B M Satija

Inspector( DVB)

S.304, r/w 36 IPC

SEVEN YEARS

S.304A ,337,338 r/w 36 IPC. SENTENCED FOR TWO YEARS

6.

ANAND KUMAR GERA

Inspector( DVB)

S.304 r/w 36 IPC

SEVEN YEARS

ACQUITTED BY HIGH COURT

7.

BIR SINGH

Sr Fitter( DVB)

S.304, r/w 36 IPC

SEVEN YEARS

S.304A ,337,338 r/w 36 IPC. SENTENCED FOR TWO YEAR

8.

SHYAM SUNDER SHARMA

 Admn. Officer( MCD)

Ss. 304A, 337,338 r/w 36 IPC TWO YEARS

ACQUITTED BY HIGH COURT

9.

NARAYAN DUTT TIWARI

 Admn. Officer(MCD)

Ss. 304A, 337,338 r/w 36 IPC TWO YEARS

ACQUITTED BY HIGH COURT

10.

HAR SWARUP PANWAR

 DO( DFS)

Ss. 304A, 337,338 r/w 36 IPC

TWO YEARS

Sec 304A OF IPC

SENTENCE REDUCED TO ONE YEAR

                                               

Note: Out of 16 accused ,6 accused i.e K L Malhotra( DGM Uphaar),R M Puri ( Director Uphaar),Ajit Choudhary ( Asst.Manager Uphaar),S N Dandona ( EE PWD) & Surinder Dutt

( DFS) died during trial and Radha Kishan Sharma ( Manager Uphaar) died  pending appeal in the Supreme Court.

 

 

(For any further details please visit our website:www.rememberuphaarsite.wordpress.com)