The Delhi High Court on Friday sought the Centre's stand on a plea for grant of sanction to prosecute former IPS officer Amod Kanth in the 1997 Uphaar cinema fire case.
Justice Rajiv Sahai Endlaw issued a notice to the Ministry of Home Affairs and sought its response by November 24. The notice was issued on a plea by Association of Victims of Uphaar Tragedy (AVUT), saying the Centre had declined their plea for sanction to prosecute Kanth for allegedly allowing an extra row of seats in Uphaar theatre which blocked the exit.
A total of 59 people, mostly from the upper-floor balcony class, had died in the blaze while over 100 others were injured during the maiden show of blockbuster film 'Border' on June 13, 1997.
AVUT told the high court that it had approached the Home Ministry to seek sanction for Kanth's prosecution after the trial court had summoned him seeking his stand on its plea for his prosecution. It said the MHA had responded to its plea on June 23 this year and said, "The matter has been duly examined by the ministry. As the matter is sub-judice, it is not possible to intervene at this stage."
It had moved the high court challenging the ministry's denial of its permission to prosecute Kanth. The trial court had last year summoned Kanth to face criminal proceedings.
Challenging the trial court's order, Kanth had approached the high court which had refused to impose any interim stay on the trial court proceedings against him but stopped it from passing any judgement in the case till it (the high court) decides Kanth's plea challenging the proceedings against him.
The trial court had on August 12 last year rejected the CBI's report giving a clean chit to Kanth.
"The investigation report of CBI is rejected. Let the summons be issued against Amod Kanth," the court had said.