The Delhi High Court on Monday issued notice to the Delhi government to submit a complete status report on the trial of the case against Uphaar cinema fire tragedy accused Sushil Ansal,Gopal Ansal,H S Panwar,P P Batra,Anoop Singh,Col D V Malhotra and former district court employee Dinesh Chandra Sharma for alleged tampering of evidence in the Uphaar case.
The court of Justice Veena Birbal directed the prosecution to submit the report by October 11 on a plea by the Association of Victims of Uphaar Ragedy (AVUT) for speedy and time-bound trial of the case.
The AVUT in its petition have alleged that even though the supplementary chargesheet in the case was filed in January 2008,the arguments on charge on behalf of the prosecution had not been concluded due to the frequent adjournments sought by the defence counsels.
According to the list of dates submitted by the petitioners,the hearing in the case has been adjourned without arguments being concluded over 20 times since 2010 for various reasons. On Monday,during a hearing in the court of Chief Metropolitan Magistrate Amit Bansal,the prosecution once again sought time to submit written arguments in the case,and were granted time till September 19.
The trial court is in the process of hearing arguments on the charges in the case arising out of the mutilation of the case file,allegedly on the behest of the accused businessmen. In 2002,during the trial in the main case against the Ansals,the Sessions court had found that the judicial file had been damaged and several pages were found missing. On inquiry,the record keeper of the court was suspected to be responsible for the damage to the judicial file and was removed from service in 2004 for tampering with the court records. The FIR against him was registered in 2006. The Economic offences wing (EoW) of the Delhi police submitted the first chargesheet in the case in February 2007,with the supplementary chargesheet in January 2008.
Tampering and mutilation of a judicial file is an egregious offence against the entire justice delivery system and as such the case titled State v. Dinesh Chandra Sharma,deserves to be tried expeditiously in a time-bound manner with utmost priority on a day-to-day basis, the AVUT plea read.
Miscarriage of justice has occasioned due to the failure of the trial court to comply with the mandatory directions contained in the Code. Criminal justice cannot be allowed to be defeated solely on account of inaction or lapses of the court in adhering to the mandates of law, the plea said.
At least 59 people died of asphyxia following a fire in the basement of Uphaar cinema hall on June 13,1997 during a screening of the film Border.