New Delhi: The Delhi High Court Thursday declined to stay criminal proceedings against former IPS officer Amod Kanth for allowing extra seats in the Uphaar cinema hall where 59 movie-watchers died in a blaze in 1997.
Justice Sanjeev Khanna, however, restrained the Metropolitan Magistrate from passing judgement in the case till it decides the plea of Kanth challenging proceedings
If the petitioner filed an application seeking exemption from personal appearance in the lower court, then he should be forthwith exempted from personal appearance in the
case and final judgement would not be passed, the High Court said while issuing notice to the CBI.
The court fixed the matter for further hearing on December 1.
A lower court had on August 12 rejected CBI`s report giving a clean chit to Kanth.
"The investigation report of CBI is hereby rejected. Let the summons be issued against Amod Kanth," the court had said.
The court had said there was sufficient material to prosecute Kanth under section 304A (causing death by rash and negligent act), 337 (causing hurt by an act which endangers
human life) and 338 (causing grievous hurt by an act which endangers human life) of IPC.
The court also observed that there were prima-facie evidence to prosecute Kanth under the Cinematograph Act.
The court had on August 9 reserved its order on a plea of Association of Victims of Uphaar Tragedy (AVUT) seeking rejection of CBI`s report absolving the former IPS officer in the case.
Earlier, CBI, in pursuance of a Delhi High Court order, had filed a report after probing the role of Kanth and favoured his non-prosecution.
The alleged role of Kanth had come under the scanner when a trial court, while awarding varying jail terms to 12 accused, including theatre owners Sushil and Gopal Ansal in
the fire case, had asked CBI to probe his alleged "acts of commission and omission" in allowing the extra seats.
CBI, which initially did not comply with the trial court order asking it file a report, was reprimanded by the Delhi High Court which had upheld the conviction of Ansals and
The High Court, however, had reduced the jail terms of Ansals from two to one year under section 304 A (causing death by rash and negligent acts) of IPC.