On the 18th death anniversary of the 59 innocent lives who perished in the terrible Uphaar Fire Tragedy on June 13, 1997 it is with deep pain and despair that we inform our well-wishers that despite following the case relentlessly for the last eighteen years, AVUT has failed in its endeavour. As the families of the victims continue to struggle to cope with their unimaginable grief and loss, the convicts are free to carry on with their business activities as usual and enjoy life.

The judgment in the Criminal Appeal was pronounced on 5th March 2014 by the Supreme Court and pronounced the Ansals guilty. Though the judges concurred on the findings, there was  dissent with regards to the sentencing and the matter was referred to a three judge bench. The primary criteria which the court has considered while sentencing is a prolonged trial the accused have faced and the delay of more than sixteen years in the conclusion of proceedings against them. It is matter of record that it was the victims who had at every stage approached the High Court for expeditious trial since the accused were delaying the proceedings by seeking frequent adjournments.  Why should the accused be given the double benefits of first a prolonged trial as it is a well-known fact that it is they who seek adjournments on one pretext or the other, and then a lighter sentence on the grounds of delay. In fact delaying the trial proceedings is detrimental to the victims.  Once the charge sheet is filed and cognizance is taken by the court it is the responsibility of the courts and the Prosecuting agency to expedite the trial proceedings.

It has been   one year and three months since the Ansals were convicted by the Supreme Court, but the order on their sentencing is still awaited. To our knowledge it is unprecedented that an order on sentencing   remains pending for over a year after conviction. In the last one year AVUT had moved three applications for early hearing. The matter was finally listed for hearing on 21st April 2015 but we were outraged when once again when the matter was adjourned at the request of the Ansals. How long will we continue to be the victims of this adjournment culture?

While the accused in our country manage to get an early hearing and also get relief, the victims continue to suffer. Even though the country is supposed to be heading for ‘Achhe Din’ under the leadership of our Prime Minister, it seems there will never be any ‘Achhe Din’ for Uphaar Victims unless they get justice for their loved ones

If our Prime Minister really wants us to be proud Indians let him take steps to improve the Justice delivery system. We as bereaved families are definitely not proud Indians when, despite our best and most sincere efforts, the state has failed us in its duty to provide justice for the victims of the Uphaar tragedy in the last two decades.


















AVUT PRAYER MEET -13th June 2015


Saturday, 13th June, 2015 AT 9 a.m.


To mark the 18th 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  .

  • One year and three months since Ansals  were  convicted by the Supreme Court on 5th March 2014  , order on sentencing is still awaited .To our knowledge it is unprecedented that an order on sentencing   remains pending for over a year after conviction.
  • Charges framed in the Tampering of Evidence matter pertaining to 2003 against Sushil Ansal , Gopal Ansal and 5 others u/s 409,109,201 & 120B IPC by Ld. CMM Patiala House Court on 31.05.2014. A year later only one witness has been examined.
  • Appeal to the Government of India to bring in a new legislation to deal with man-made disasters pending for past  6 years .
  • We at AVUT still await judicial closure.



Status of cases pending in different courts



13.06.1997: Fifty nine people die of Asphyxia and over 100 injured in the worst ever cinema disaster in the country due to fire at Uphaar cinema in New Delhi. The FIR was lodged in the Hauz Khas Police Station. The investigation was handed over to crime branch Delhi Police in the third week of June 1997. Subsequently the investigation was transferred to CBI on 26th July 1997.

15.11.1997: Charge Sheet filed by CBI against 16 accused.

20.11.2007: Judgement of Trial Court convicting all the 12 accused charge sheeted by the CBI. (4 accused died during the trial namely R M Puri Director Uphaar, Uphaar, K L Malhotra , D G M  Uphaar, S N Dandona ( PWD) &  Surinder Dutt ( DFS)

Sushil Ansal & Gopal Ansal – 2 years (u/s 304 A IPC, 337,338)

Radhakishan Sharma, Ajit Choudhary & N S Chopra (Managers – Uphaar Cinema) – 7years u/s 304 IPC

Manmohan Unniyal (Gate Keeper Uphaar Cinema) – 7 years  u/s 304 IPC

B M Satija, A K Gera & Bir Singh (DVB) – 7 years u/s  304 IPC

H S  Panwar ( DFS) – 2 years u/s 304 A IPC

N D Tiwari & Shyam Sunder Sharma (MCD) – 2 years u/s 304 A IPC

10.09.2008: The Hon’ble Supreme Court cancelled the bail granted to Sushil Ansal ,Gopal Ansal by the High Court.

19.12.2008: Judgement of the High Court .The High court convicted 6 out of 12 convicted by the trial court.   ( Total hearing -26 )

Sushil Ansal & Gopal Ansal – Sentence reduced to one year

Radhakishan Sharma & N S Chopra (Managers – Uphaar Cinema) – Acquitted

Manmohan Unniyal (Gate Keeper Uphaar Cinema) – sentence reduced to two years and convicted u/s 304 A IPC

B M Satija & Bir Singh (DVB) – Sentence reduced to two years u/s 304 A

A K Gera (DVB) – Acquitted

H S  Panwar ( DFS) –  Sentence reduced to one years

N D Tiwari & Shyam Sunder Sharma (MCD) – Acquitted

30.01.2009:.The Court issued notice on an SLP filed by Association of the Victims of Uphaar Tragedy for enhancement of sentence of Sushil & Gopal Ansal and alteration of charge to 304 IPC. The Hon’ble Supreme Court granted bail to Sushil Ansal, Gopal Ansal and H S Panwar. The court also issued notice on an SLP filed by Ansal’s & H S Panwar.

Sushil  Ansal, Gopal Ansal, B M Satija, Bir Singh, H S Panwar filed an appeal for acquittal

CBI filed a counter appeal for enhancement of sentence to 2 years for Sushil Ansal, Gopal Ansal, H S Panwar, Alteration of charge to 304 IPC for B M Satija, Bir Singh  ( DVB) & Manmohan Unniyal ( Gate Keeper Uphaar) and against acquittal of N S Chopra  (Manager Uphaar), A K Gera ( DVB), N D Tiwari & Shyam Sunder Sharma ( MCD)

AVUT filed an appeal for alteration of charge to 304 IPC against Sushil Ansal & Gopal Ansal.

August 2010 to February 2012 : Matter on board in Supreme Court .8 adjournments sought by Ansals

16.02.2012 to 17.04.2013: Criminal Appeal taken up for hearing.

(Hearing goes on for over a year)

17.04.2013: Judgment reserved.

March 5th 2014 : Judgment pronounced. Sushil Ansal , Gopal  Ansal  & H S Panwar convicted u/s 304 A , 337  & 338 & section 14 of Cinematograph Act. Though the judges concurred on the findings but there was a dissent with regards to sentencing  and the matter was referred to three  judge bench. It is one year and three months order on sentencing is still pending which is unprecedented.


NOTE: AVUT moved three applications for early hearing between  October 8th  2014 to January 22 2015. CBI also moved an application for early hearing 22nd January 2015. The matter was finally taken up on April 21st 2015. An adjournment was sought on behalf of Ansals.



10.01.2003: CBI files an application regarding missing documents

07.03.2006: AVUT files a Crl.Misc. Application in Crl. Misc (Main Petition No. 2380/2003 in the Hon’ble High Court under section 482 of the code of criminal Procedure praying for directions for registration of a criminal case against offenders for tampering with documents in the court custody.

05.05.2006:The Hon’ble High Court passed following order:

“Delhi Police is called upon to register a case under appropriate provision of law in regard to the incident of removal/tampering with/ mutilation of the documents from the judicial records of the trial court. After the registration of the FIR, investigation shall be entrusted to an officer not below the rank of ACP who will conduct the investigation expeditiously and endeavor to conclude the same within a period three months from the date of this order. A status report shall be filed by the investigating agency before the next date of hearing i.e. 8th August 2006.”

17.05.2006: An FIR No.207/2006 is lodged by Delhi Police under Sec. 109/193/201/218/409/120B IPC under the directions of the High Court.

22.02.2007: Charge Sheet filed EOW Delhi Police in ACMM‘s Court against court Ahalmad Dinesh Chandra Sharma. 

23.05.2007: Supplementary Charge Sheet  filed enclosing GEQD Report of the documents seized from A Plus Security Agency

17.01.2008: 2nd Charge Sheet filed by EOW Delhi Police and following were arrayed as accused:


  1. Sushil Ansal 2. Gopal Ansal 3. H S Panwar  4. PP Batra  5. Anoop Singh 6. Col D V Malhotra

15.02.2008: Summons issued by ACMM Patiala House Court

24.02.2008: Sushil Ansal files revision against the Summoning Order in the Hon’ble High Court

28.04.2008: Gopal Ansal filed petition to be listed along with Crl Rev. 224/08 of Sushil Ansal

03.09.2010: High Court dismissed all the Petitions with following directions:


“This Court does not find merit in any of the petitions. Each of the petitions is accordingly dismissed with cost of Rs.25,000/-. These costs will be paid to the State within a period of four weeks from today. The interim orders stand vacated. The pending applications are dismissed. The trial court records be returned to the concerned court forthwith together with a certified copy of this order.”

26.08.2013: AVUT filed a Criminal Writ Petition in High Court of Delhi with a prayer for expeditious trial. Hon’ble Court has directed the CMM Patiala House Courts to frame the charges or otherwise by 15th May 2014.

25.05.2014:        Order reserved on framing of charges

31.05.2014:        Charges framed against all seven accused u/s 409/109/201/120B IPC.

NOTE: Revision has been filed by Sushil Ansal , Gopal Ansal, D V Malhotra & Anoop Singh against the order framing charges in the court ASJ , Patiala House. There is no stay on trial.

Trial is proceeding in the court of CMM and only one witness has been examined in the last one year. Next date of hearing 06.07.2015

COMPLAINT CASE W.R.T. 506 ,509,188 & 120B IPC

10.05.2007: An application was filed by Neelam Krishnamoorthy before the Ld Trial Court of Ms Mamta Sehgal, ASJ in the case titled  CBI v/s Sushil Ansal .

The Ld ASJ forwarded the application to the ACMM  which was registered as a Complaint and the statement of the complainant and other witnesses were recorded.

19.06.07: Ld ACMM summoned Sushil Ansal , Gopal Ansal  ,Praveen Sharma , Deepak Kathpalia u/s 188,506,509 read with section 120-B  IPC 

03.07.2007: Gopal Ansal & Praveen Sharma moved High Court u/s 482  and an ex parte stay was granted. Subsequently Sushil Ansal & Deepak Kathpalia also moved the High Court and were granted stay

03.03.2015 : Arguments were heard and judgment reserved .


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.

23.11.2007: The Ld Trial Judge vide its judgement  ordered further investigation of the offences in terms of section 173(8) Cr PC.

19.12.2008: The Hon’ble High Court vide its Judgement  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.

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. 

03.06.2009: AVUT filed a protest Petition.

12.08.2010: Ld MM of Patiala House Courts  summoned Amod Kanth to stand trial for the offence u/s 304A,337,338 IPC and section 14 of the Cinematograph Act.

26.08.2010: Amod Kanth approached the Hon’ble High Court for setting aside the said order on the ground that no sanctions u/s 197 Cr PC has been obtained.

03.10.2013:Hon’ble High Court passed a Judgement in Crl. Misc Petition 2746/10  dismissing the petition of Amod Kanth.

09.11.2013 : Amod Kanth  filed an SLP  in the Hon’ble Supreme Court against the order of the Delhi High Court.

29.11.2013:  Supreme Court granted Stay on the trial proceedings.












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.








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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.


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  .




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