The Supreme Court would on Thursday hear the plea of real estate baron Gopal Ansal seeking extension of time to surrender for serving one-year jail term in the 1997 Uphaar fire tragedy case. Senior advocate Ram Jethmalani, representing Gopal Ansal, told a bench of Justices Ranjan Gogoi and Navin Sinha that the apex court had on February 9 asked Gopal to surrender within four weeks and the time would expire on Thursday.
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Jethmalani said he would not be available on March 9 and 10 as he has to go to Pune for teaching assignment and the bench can fix Gopal’s appeal for hearing immediately after the reopening of the apex court post Holi vacation on March 20.
The senior counsel said as the time to surrender would expire on Wednesday, the bench can extend it.
“We know that the period is expiring tomorrow and that is why the matter has been listed for tomorrow. It is very unlikely that we (two-judge bench) will extend it. The matter has been earmarked and fixed before a different combination (of judges), so this combination cannot pass any order on extending the time,” the bench said.
“It (matter) is coming up tomorrow before the bench and we will see,” the bench said.
A three-judge bench headed by Justice Ranjan Gogoi, 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.
The apex court would also hear Gopal’s plea in which he has sought a relief similar to the one given to his elder brother, Sushil Ansal, who was awarded the jail term already undergone by him due to “advanced age-related complications”.
Besides this, the Association of Victims of Uphaar Tragedy (AVUT) has moved the apex court seeking modification of the order sentencing Sushil Ansal to the period already undergone by him in jail in the case relating to the Uphaar cinema fire tragedy that had killed 59 people on June 13, 1997.