The Supreme Court on Friday granted bail to Ansal brothers Sushil and Gopal on their appeal against a one-year jail term for negligence in the 1997 Uphaar fire tragedy that claimed the lives of 59 cine-goers trapped in the movie hall. The Delhi High Court had earlier upheld the conviction of the trial court,but reduced the prison sentence of the brothers,owners of Uphaar Cinema,from two years to one.
A Bench,headed by Justice S B Sinha,who is hearing the case,on Friday directed the brothers be released from jail on the personal bond of Rs 10,000 each. The court also issued notices on the cross appeals filed by the Ansals and Association of the Victims of the Uphaar Tragedy challenging the one-year sentence imposed on the accused by the Delhi High Court.
While the Ansals had challenged the sentence imposed by the High Court,the victims’ association had sought enhancement of the punishment on the ground that the offence fell under the purview of Section 304 of the IPC (culpable homicide not amounting to murder).
The decision on Friday came after a Bench,led by Justice B N Agarwal,another Supreme Court judge,declined to hear the bail petition on the plea made by the Ansals’ counsel,senior advocate Ram Jethmalani. Incidentally,Justice Aggrawal had earlier cancelled the bail of the Ansal brothers for allegedly tampering evidence in the Uphaar cinema tragedy on a petition filed by the victims’ family members.