Uphaar case: SC to hear Gopal Ansal’s plea on March 8

Uphaar case: SC to hear Gopal Ansal's plea on March 8
Uphaar case: SC to hear Gopal Ansal’s plea on March 8

The Supreme Court today said the appeal filed by real estate baron Gopal Ansal, who has been directed to serve one-year jail term in the 1997 Uphaar fire tragedy case, would be heard on Wednesday.

A bench headed by Justice Ranjan Gogoi said this after senior advocate Ram Jethmalani, appearing for Gopal Ansal, urged the court that the matter, which was listed for hearing today, should be heard tomorrow.

The bench, also comprising Justice Navin Sinha, said the matter would come up for hearing before the same bench which had passed the verdict on February 9.

“It will come up for hearing on Wednesday (March 8) before the same bench which had passed the order,” the bench said.

A three-judge bench, in a 2:1 majority verdict on February 9, had granted relief to 76-year-old Sushil Ansal considering his “advanced age-related complications” by awarding him jail term already undergone and had asked younger sibling Gopal to surrender in four weeks to serve the remaining jail term.

Gopal has sought the relief that he should not be asked to serve one-year jail term like his elder brother Sushil Ansal in the case of 1997 fire tragedy in which 59 people had died.

Senior advocate K T S Tulsi, appearing for the Association for Victims of Uphaar Tragedy led by Neelam Krishnamoorthy, had opposed the plea, saying the review pleas of the CBI and the association have already been decided and “there cannot be a review of the review judgement”.

59 persons had died of asphyxia in the Uphaar cinema during the screening of Hindi movie ‘Border’ on June 13, 1997.

Gopal, who was in jail earlier for around four-and-a-half months, has sought a relief similar to the one given to his brother, claiming that he was 69-year-old and would suffer irreparable damage to his health if sent to prison. The plea has said “his body and health are more brittle than that of his elder brother”.

It has said that Gopal’s case should be treated “at par with that of his brother, accused number one Sushil Ansal upon taking on record the medical record enclosed. The petitioner at present seeks only one relief, which his brother got without being called upon to prove anything.

“If the petitioner had known that he had to establish that he too is suffering the kind of physical ailment for which the sentence already undergone has been found sufficient punishment, he would have had no difficulty in proving that his body and health are more brittle than that of his elder brother.

( Source – PTI )

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