Uphaar fire case verdict today

Staff Reporter

Victims’ families hope justice would be delivered

“The accused have been filing written arguments”

“The deferment of decision at the last hearing disappointing”

NEW DELHI: The long wait of the families of the victims in the 10-year-old Uphaar fire tragedy case is likely to end on Tuesday with the Sessions court here pronouncing its verdict.

On October 22, the court had fixed November 20 as the date for announcing the verdict. The court had reserved its judgment on August 21 and initially set September 5 as the verdict date. However, the accused had sought permission to submit additional written arguments. This led to a delay in the verdict. On the last date, Additional Sessions Judge Mamata Sehgal said she needed time to go through the additional documents.

The deferment of decision by yet another month had come as a huge disappointment to the families of the victims at the last hearing. They are now hoping that justice finally would be delivered in the case.

Earlier, the convenor of the Association of Victims of Uphaar Tragedy (AVUT), Neelam Krishnamurthy, had said it was turning out to be a strange case where the accused were continuously coming forward to file written arguments after the judgment had been reserved.

There were 12 accused in the case when the trial began. Four of them died during the trial. On behalf of AVUT, a petition was filed earlier this year in the Delhi High Court seeking a speedy trial.

Speedy trial

The High Court had asked the lower court in 2002 to finish the trial by December that year. But the case continued to drag with the accused filing multiple applications in the lower court, the High Court and the Supreme Court on various aspects of the case.

Separate case

In 2006, a record-keeper of the court was dismissed for allegedly helping the accused Ansals by removing key papers from the case file in 2003. A separate case was registered against him on the direction of the High Court.

At least 59 people were killed and several others injured in the incident on June 13, 1997, when a devastating fire broke out in Uphaar cinema where the Hindi film “Border” was being screened.

Recommended for you