The compensation case is still hanging fire in the Supreme Court. In a historic judgment, the Delhi High Court had on April 24, 2003 ordered Rs 18 crore in compensation to the victims of the Uphaar fire tragedy. The court ordered payment of Rs 15 lakh each to the relatives of the victims who were less than 20 years at the time of the tragedy and a sum of Rs 18 lakh each to those who were above 20 years. The court also ordered compensation of Rs one lakh each to those injured in the mishap. The amount was to be paid with nine per cent interest from the date of the institution of the petition.
Holding the owners of the Uphaar cinema, MCD, DVB and the licensing authority “guilty of negligence”, the High Court directed the cinema owners to pay 55 per cent of the compensation since they were the maximum beneficiaries of the profit earned from the cinema. The remaining 45 per cent was to be borne equally by MCD, DVB and licensing authorities, each contributing 15 per cent of the amount. It meant the Ansals had to pay around Rs 9.5 crores and an additional Rs 2.5 crore had to be paid as donation to AIIMS trauma centre. Except DVB, all others challenged it.
Court staff being investigated
The Delhi Police is investigating the alleged nexus between the Uphaar cinema owners and a staff of the court, which is holding the trial who was dismissed for tampering with the evidence. This was after the Delhi High Court ordered registration of FIR against Dinesh Chand Sharma, the Ahalmad in the court of Additional Sessions Judge Mamta Sehgal on a petition filed by the Association of Victims of Uphaar Tragedy.
An enquiry by District Judge in 2004 had found that Sharma had tampered with the seizure memo, occurrence book of police control room, a register of a fire station, casual leave register of fire officers, four cheques and 62 pages containing correspondence about Uphaar.