A Delhi court on Saturday dismissed former IPS officer Amod Kanth’s plea to drop proceedings on framing of charges against him in the 1997 Uphaar fire tragedy case, saying the accused has “no right to be heard at this stage”.
Additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate Lokesh Kumar Sharma said judicial proceedings cannot be dropped at the behest of the accused at the point of framing charges.
The court passed the order while hearing the case against Mr. Kanth, who has been booked 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 and under the Cinematography Act.
“I am of the considered opinion that stopping and dropping of judicial proceedings at the behest of accused at the point of framing charges cannot be allowed. The same is dismissed,” the court said and fixed February 2, 2013 to hear further arguments on framing charges.
Fifty nine people had been asphyxiated to death and over 100 others were injured in ill-fated Uphaar cinema hall on June 13, 1997 during the maiden screening of Hindi blockbuster ‘Border’.
The former cop had filed the plea through his counsel Dinesh Goyal saying that he was not given the opportunity to argue in the matter while the CBI and the Association of Victims of Uphaar Tragedy (AVUT), which has no locus standi in the matter, have already been provided such an opportunity.
Mr. Goyal argued that “if the accused has no right of hearing at this stage of framing of charges against him, then certainly the prosecution and any other party can have no such right by any stretch of imagination.”
The judge responded to the counsel’s contention saying “I don’t think that this application is maintainable at this stage of framing of charges and the accused has no right of hearing at this stage.”