New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Thursday reduced the punitive damages imposed on Ansal brothers in the Uphaar tragedy that left 59 people dead in 1997.
The apex court cut the compensation amount announced by the High Court payable to victims of the tragedy by almost half.
For the victims who were above the age of 20, the court cut the compensation from Rs 18 lakh to Rs 10 lakh. While for those who were below the age of 20, the compensation has been put at 7.5 lakh down from the earlier Rs 15 lakh.
The court also ruled that the owners of Uphaar cinema and the erstwhile Delhi Vidyut Board were “jointly and severally” liable to pay compensation.
The court said that the Ansals pay 85 per cent of the compensation and the Delhi Vidyut Board the remaining 15 per cent.
The verdict that comes 14 years after the tragedy that took place during the screening of the Hindi film B o r d e r at Uphaar Cinema on June 13, 1997, has left the families of the victims quiet disappointed with many describing the verdict as a “wasted opportunity”.
President of Association of Victims of Uphaar Tragedy (AVUT), Neelam Krishnamurthy , who had herself lost her son and daughter in the tragedy and was leading the fight for the victims’ families said that the fight was not for the compensation but for the punitive damages.
“We have been fighting for the last 15 years. Our fight was not about money. We wanted people to have safer public places and the only way to do this was by putting pressure on corporate,” she said.
She added that the only silver lining in the verdict was that it had increased the liability of Ansal Brothers, asking them to pay 85% of the compensation.
Claiming that such judgments do well to benefit the corporate, Neelam warned “many more Uphaars will happen".