Uphaar tragedy effect: SC to examine highrise buildings

Last Updated: Thursday, December 10, 2009 - 22:53

New Delhi: In the backdrop of the 1997 Uphaar
cinema tragedy which claimed 59 lives here, the Supreme Court
on Thursday said it would like to examine the safety of multistoried
buildings, which may include multiplex theatres, in the
country.

A bench of Justices R V Raveendra and K S
Radhakrishnan directed the MCD, DCP (licensing), erstwhile
Delhi Vidyut Board beside the Ansals, owners of Uphaar
theatre, to file their suggestions on measures to prevent
recurrence of such incidents.

"We would like to expand the scope of this petition to
see whether it can be converted into a PIL," the bench said
adding it would pass an appropriate order on the issue on
Wednesday.

The bench made the remarks at the conclusion of the
arguments made by Ansals and the government agencies which
had earlier been directed by the Delhi High Court to pay
compensation to the bereaved families and the victims of
Uphaar fire tragedy.

The apex court brushed aside the defence of the Ansals
and said the theatre management cannot pass on the buck to DVB
by claiming that the fire was triggered by the official
transformer installed by the power board.

"The theatre is owned by you. You have issued the
tickets. You have increased the seats illegally, you have
closed one of the exits and the gangway. So, you cannot escape
liability," the bench said during the arguments.

Holding the owners of Uphaar cinema, MCD, Delhi Vidyut
Board (DVB) and licensing authority "guilty of negligence",
the Delhi High Court had earlier directed the cinema owners to
pay 55 per cent of the compensation award and the remaining 45
per cent by MCD, DVB and licencing authorities, each
contributing 15 per cent.

The apex court said since DVB has accepted its
liability and has also chosen not to appeal against the high
court`s direction for compensation, it was now left to the
court to decide the extent of liability of the other three
parties-- theatre owners, MCD and the DCP (licensing).

PTI



First Published: Thursday, December 10, 2009 - 22:53

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