PRESS RELEASE

Date: 13.06.2017

 

Victims of the Uphaar Fire Tragedy who have waited tirelessly for two decades were deeply disappointed and distressed by the judgement they finally received from the highest court in India on 9th February 2017. We believe that the verdict is certain to go down in the history as a travesty of justice. The judgement is both unfortunate and terrible and one which shows the pro-establishment mindset of the Supreme Court. Such a judgement will only embolden the owners of public spaces to violate safety rules and compromise on safety, with no thought of endangering human lives. It is a well-known fact that law breakers are always ahead of law makers, but it is for the courts to see that justice is done and law breakers are brought to book.

Our courts have not learnt from their counterparts in other countries who have dealt sternly and swiftly to deal with tragedies involving human lives.    It is as if the law is being administered by our courts to nurture corporate interests and not to deliver justice.

Punishment should always be proportionate to /commensurate with the gravity of offence, and factors such as economic or social status of the accused, their age, or long pendency of criminal trial cannot be construed as factors for reducing the sentence.

There is a plethora of Supreme court judgements wherein the Supreme Court has incarcerated convicts for life despite their old age. In a recent  judgement ( Abdul Waheed v/s State of U.P.- SCC (2016) Vol –I  583)  the Supreme court in a 40 year old case,  while sentencing a ninety year old man to life imprisonment has held that it is the duty of  court to award proper sentence having regard to the manner in which the offence was committed. Age of the appellant and the time elapsed since occurrence is of no relevance. Undue sympathy would do more harm to criminal justice system in addition to undermining the public confidence in the efficacy of the system.

Sushil Ansal, 76 year old is fit to play Golf, carry on his business activities and also make plans to relocate overseas, but strangely Supreme Court finds him too old to serve jail time.

The jail sentence  of one year awarded by the court to Gopal Ansal barely works out to 6 days in jail for each of the 59 he killed, whereas for Sushil Ansal who has undergone 5 months and twenty days in jail, it works out to  only around 3 days per innocent victim.

We have also received information recently that a mercy petition has been filed on behalf of Gopal Ansal by Senior Advocate Ram Jethmalani. The same has been received by the Ministry of Home Affairs and forwarded to the Lt. Governor of Delhi for his opinion.  We are shocked that the Ministry of Home Affairs has bothered to entertain such a blatantly undeserving petition on behalf of a convicted mass murderer. We trust that our hopes will not be dashed further by the Lt. Governor by entertaining this petition.

We have spent the last twenty years suffering pain, emptiness & desperation, hoping that this verdict would bring peace to the departed souls of our loved ones. We heard it said innumerable times that justice should not only be done, but must also be seen to be done. But unfortunately justice has been denied to the Uphaar victims.

Neelam Krishnamoorthy

President AVUT

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

AVUT PRAYER MEET: 20th Death Anniversary of Uphaar Fire Victims

Tuesday, 13th June, 2017 AT 9 a.m.

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

Please join us for the annual Havan and Shanti Paath that the families of those who lost their precious lives in the Uphaar Fire have been performing for 20 years for the peace of the departed souls.

Today we pray not for justice for the departed souls, but for those who are naïve enough to seek justice in this country as we did.

NEELAM KRISHNAMOORTHY

PRESIDENT – AVUT