Tamil Nadu

Srirangam fire: HC upholds conviction of three persons

64 persons, including the groom, had perished in 2004 tragedy

The Madurai Bench of the Madras High Court on Monday upheld the conviction of the owner, the manager and an electrician of a marriage hall in Srirangam where 64 persons, including the groom, died in a fire in 2004.

Thirty-three persons had sustained burns in the fire at the Sri Padmapriya Kalyana Mahal.

The court confirmed the conviction of hall owner Ramasamy and manager Sadagopan. However, their sentences were modified to three months and six months’ simple imprisonment, taking into account their age. The owner gave an undertaking to pay compensation of ₹40 lakh to the families of the victims.

Justice G.R. Swaminathan, referring to the Supreme Court’s judgment in the Delhi Uphaar cinema fire tragedy, said that the occupier had a duty to ensure safety of visitors against all foreseeable dangers and harm. It was a continuing obligation that an occupier owed towards every invitee, the judge said.

The court was hearing the criminal appeal preferred by the accused, challenging the Tiruchi sessions court order convicting them.

The trial court had found them guilty of causing death by negligence, causing grievous hurt by an act endangering life or personal safety of others under the Indian Penal Code.

The main accused in the case were the videographer, assistant of the videographer, owner of the marriage hall, manager of the marriage hall and the electrician. It was said that electric short-circuit and excessive heat generated by the videographer’s equipment had caused the fire.

A thatched roof put up at the marriage hall caught fire and fell on the guests. The narrow staircase at the hall caused stampede and added to the tragedy. There were no fire extinguishers in the hall, originally a residential building that was illegally converted into a marriage hall.

The court acquitted videographer Dharmaraj of all charges and said that he was only focusing on capturing the images at the wedding and his assistant Balaji, who handled the equipment, should have been careful. The court upheld conviction of electrician Murugesan. The court said that owner Ramasamy should deposit ₹40 lakh and the amount should be disbursed by the Principal District Judge of Tiruchi by applying appropriate yardstick. It should not be a mechanical distribution and the governing standard must be the dependency and the need factor.

Recommended for you
This article is closed for comments.
Please Email the Editor

Printable version | Jul 11, 2020 4:57:07 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/tamil-nadu/srirangam-fire-hc-upholds-conviction-of-three-persons/article31782557.ece

Next Story