The Supreme Court on Thursday reduced compensation to the victims of the Uphaar tragedy under various categories. The apex court reduced punitive damages imposed by Delhi High Court on Ansals from Rs 2.5 crore to Rs 25 lakh.
The court said that the owners of Uphaar Cinema and erstwhile Delhi Vidyut Board “jointly and severally” liable to pay compensation in fire tragedy case.
The compensation to family of deceased above 20 years cut from Rs 18 lakh to Rs 10 lakh each; for those below 20 years, from Rs 15 lakh to Rs 7.5 lakh.
Cinema hall owners Ansals were asked to pay 85 per cent of the compensation money to the families of the victims, while the Delhi Vidyut Board (DVB) was asked to pay 15 per cent of the amount.
Sanjeev Sen, counsel for the Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD), said: “Now after this judgment, Ansals will pay 85 percent. DVB has already complied with the court order and paid 15 percent while court has set aside compensation to be paid by Delhi Police and MCD.”
“Delhi Police has already paid certain amount as ex-gratia,” he told reporters.
Neelam Krishnamurthy, who lost two children in the blaze and is convenor of the Association of Victims of Uphaar Tragedy (AVUT), described the order as “extremely disappointing”.
The horrific blaze on June 13, 1997 during the screening of the Hindi film “Border” claimed 59 lives and injured over 100 people in the subsequent stampede.
The fire was sparked by a blast in a transformer in an underground parking lot in the five-storey building which housed the cinema hall and several offices.