New Delhi: Nearly 14 years after the
infamous Uphaar cinema fire tragedy claimed 59 lives in the
capital, the Supreme Court today posted for final disposal in
August of the appeals filed by the victims and real estate
tycoons Ansal brothers challenging the quantum of punishment.
A bench of Justices V S Sirpurkar and Mukundakam
Sharma agreed to hear the matter on a priority basis after
senior counsel Harish Salve, appearing for CBI, submitted that
14 years had lapsed since the incident and it was high
time the matter was taken up for expeditious disposal.
Besides the Ansal brothers, three others convicts
Harsarup Panwar, Bir Singh and Brij Mohan Satija, have filed
appeals challenging their conviction.
Though the bench offered to hear the matter during the
summer vacation, the defence expressed its inability,
prompting the bench to post the matter to August. Senior
counsel Ram Jethmalani is appearing for the accused Ansal
brothers--Sushil and Gopal.
While CBI and the Association for Victims of
Uphaar Tragedy (AVUT) have sought enhancement of punishment,
the Ansal brothers have questioned the one-year sentence
imposed by the High Court on December 19, 2008, as being
erroneous in law.
According to the prosecution, the Ansal brothers owned
Uphaar cinema hall and were in charge of the management of the
theatre where 59 cinegoers were killed in a fire tragedy in
1997 during the screening of Hindi blocbuster movie "Border".