Uphaar case: HC rejects plea of ex-IPS officer

Delhi HC rejected a plea of ex-IPS officer Amod Kanth seeking to stay trial against him for allegedly allowing extra seats in Uphaar cinema.

New Delhi: The Delhi High Court on Wednesday rejected a plea of former IPS officer Amod Kanth seeking to stay the criminal proceedings against him for allegedly allowing extra seats in Uphaar cinema which proved disastrous during the 1997 tragedy that claimed 59 lives.

Justice P K Bhasin refused to entertain the application of Kanth seeking stay of the proceedings in the case before the trial court which would now hear the matter on August 4.
Kanth, in his application, said, "Once the arguments on charge is heard by the trial court and if charge is made out, then the instant quashing petition will become infructuous and no purpose would be served after the charge is framed against the petitioner (Kanth)."

A magisterial court, which, on August 12, 2010, had summoned Kanth after holding that there was a prima facie case against him for allowing extra seats in the hall, is presently hearing arguments on framing of charges.

Kanth, who was from the 1974 IPS batch, had then moved the high court against the summoning order of the lower court on grounds including that a sanction to prosecute him was not taken.
Later, he also moved an application in the high court seeking stay of the trial till his petition is decided.
However, Justice Bhasin today did not allow his plea.

A case was registered against Kanth on the order of the court following an application moved by the Association of Victims of Uphaar Tragedy (AVUT) accusing him of allowing extra seats in the theatre in the capacity of DCP (Licencing) with the knowledge that such a decision would be disastrous during emergency like fire.

59 cine goers died of asphyxia on June 13, 1997 during the screening of Hindi blockbuster `Boarder` as they could not emerge out of the cinema during the fire.