ACHIEVEMENTS & OBJECTIVES OF A V U T
Association of the Victims of Uphaar Tragedy (AVUT) was founded when the totally avoidable and unnecessary Uphaar Fire tragedy struck Delhi on June 13th, 1997, raising important questions about our social values and our ability as a nation, to implement and enforce some of the most basic laws governing the safety and survival of our people. 59 people lost their lives for no fault on their part.
The last 21 years have been excruciating and agonizing for us. However, the outcome of the cases has, in fact, impacted public safety which has resulted in Public Spaces being more fire safe than what they were two decades back. The authorities and the owners/ occupiers of the public spaces have become more conscious and fire compliant. We at AVUT are undertaking all possible steps to avoid manmade disasters like “ Uphaar”.
Major Achievements of AVUT:
- AVUT’s endeavors have ensured that due attention is given to safety norms in public spaces, specially cinema halls & Multiplexes with owners and Government authorities ensuring strict compliance of fire safety rules.
- The implementation of the “Jai Prakash Narain Trauma Centre (AIIMS)” by the Union of India. This project was in fact a nonstarter since 1983 and it was only during the hearing of the Civil writ filed by AVUT that the Hon’ble High Court of Delhi, had directed the Union of India to set up the trauma centre which was the main prayer in our Writ Petition.
- The Supreme Court in the year 2015,while convicting the owners of Uphaar Cinema in the appeal filed by AVUT , had imposed a fine of Rs 60 Crore. This amount has been paid to the Delhi Government to set up another Trauma Centre.
- On a proposal by AVUT to the Union Government for bringing in a legislation to prevent man-made disaster in Public Spaces, the Law Commission of India has published a consultation paper dealing with man-made disasters. Our endeavor is to get this legislation passed on a priority basis.
- To organize Seminars, Debates & Workshops to highlight the lack of basic safety measures in public spaces specially Educational Institutions , Multiplexes & Malls .
- To ensure implementations of the judgement of safety laws, rendered by all Hon’ble Courts in the country.
- To highlight the need of effective enforcement of the rules and regulation violating safety laws.
- To examine legislation in the field of safety laws and to take measures to have the regulations upgraded keeping in view the needs changing with time.
“Let’s work together for a SAFE India”
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 justice for those who were killed in the tragedy. But the final verdict of the Supreme Court we believe is certain to go down in the history as a travesty of justice. AVUT’s endeavour for past 21 years has been not only to get justice for our loved ones, but also to ensure implementation of safety laws in public spaces so that no precious human lives are lost.
In the last two decades the nation has witnessed many fire tragedies, the most recent being Kamala Mills Fire, Mumbai. Apart from the number of casualties being different, there is one common thread that runs through each of them is that all of them were man-made. Under our prevalent system, such offenders are booked under section 304-A of the Indian Penal Code which translates into causing death due to rash and negligent act. In this grim scenario, incidents of such catastrophic magnitude are bound to recur since there is no legal deterrence that can instill fear in the minds of possible wrongdoers
In the Uphaar Fire Tragedy Case Sushil Ansal who had merely under gone 5 months in jail, was allowed to walk free by the Apex Court because of his old age – a pitiful 2 ½ days in jail for each of the lives lost.
Years later, we have again been reminded of the insensitivity of our times. Someone accused of killing a Blackbuck is sentenced to five years in prison.”Yeh Kaisa Insaaf Hai”?
It is with utmost pain that we have come to realize that for our policy makers and decision makers, human life is of little value. The owners /occupiers are doing little to be fire compliant and the Government agencies are compromised.
We have spent the last twenty one 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
AVUT PRAYER MEET: 21st Death Anniversary of Uphaar Fire Victims
Wednesday, 13th June, 2018 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 21 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.
PRESIDENT – AVUT
FIRE SAFETY IN PUBLIC SPACES
We urge people to take the necessary precautions to protect themselves when they’re in public buildings like malls, theatres, Hospitals, and restaurants.
Most people don’t consider fire a significant risk, and complacency is one of the greatest dangers when it comes to fire safety,
No one ever thinks it will happen to them – until it does. Fires can and do happen and people need to be prepared in the event of one. Continue reading
After making the victims of the terrible Uphaar tragedy wait for justice for eighteen long years, on 19th August 2015, the highest court in the land unjustly permitted the convicted Ansal brothers, Sushil and Gopal, to escape their prison sentence by paying a price of 60 crores to the Delhi Government, ostensibly for the construction of a trauma centre in Delhi NCR. The Ansals deposited Rs 30 crore each to the Chief Secretary, Delhi Government on 9th November 2015 and the same has been accepted.
In the nineteen years since June 13, 1997, we have been hoping to get justice from the judiciary all the while undergoing further stress and trauma. Sadly, the interests of the accused seem to be of greater importance than the interests of victims.
We believe that the message sent by this sentence is one that will prove to be dangerous for the safety and welfare of the citizens of this country, and more so for the residents of Delhi. Instead of imposing punitive measures on the convicts, the order actually gives convicts and criminals the option of paying a price for their freedom. By this logic the rich and powerful in the corporate sector who own most public spaces like multiplexes ,hospitals, shopping malls, schools could take hundreds of lives, secure in the knowledge that even if they are convicted, payment of a penalty of 1 crore per life taken will ensure that they can go scot-free. We have waited nineteen years for justice. But the Ansal brothers were able to walk free after just a few months in jail. With this judgement of the Supreme Court how do we ensure that no more lives are lost because of pure greed and recklessness?
Though the Supreme Court allowed an open court hearing of the Review Petition on 6th January 2016 it has still not been taken up or scheduled for hearing. Since the matter was not being listed, AVUT mentioned the matter in the court of Hon’ ble Chief Justice on 17th March 2016 for an early hearing. CJI assured the counsel appearing for AVUT that the review plea would be listed for hearing after the Holi vacation. As the matter was not listed after the Holi vacation AVUT mentioned the matter again on 19th April 2016. The court said it would consult the concerned judges of the bench and explore possibility of listing and hearing the plea during upcoming summer vacation. Unfortunately no orders have been passed.
We at AVUT sincerely hope that justice would be done so that there is a judicial closure for the victims’ families.
AVUT PRAYER MEET: 19th Death Anniversary of Uphaar Fire Victims
Monday, 13th June, 2016 AT 9 a.m.
VENUE: “SMRITI UPAVAN”- GREEN PARK EXTENSION, OPP.UPHAAR CINEMA.
For 19 long years the families of those who lost their precious lives in the Uphaar Cinema Fire have continued to perform Havan & Shanti Path for the peace of the departed souls. There can be no Peace without justice for our loved ones.
PRESIDENT – AVUT