Uphaar case: Shocked and disappointed by court ruling, says Neelam Krishnamoorthy

Updated on Jul 20, 2022 12:21 AM IST

New Delhi: As soon as district judge Dharmesh Sharma ordered the release of the Ansal brothers in the Uphaar cinema evidence tampering case on Tuesday, Neelam Krishnamoorthy, who lost two children in the incident, broke down and interjected, saying she was “shocked” and “disappointed” by the order

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HT Image

New Delhi: As soon as district judge Dharmesh Sharma ordered the release of the Ansal brothers in the Uphaar cinema evidence tampering case on Tuesday, Neelam Krishnamoorthy, who lost two children in the incident, broke down and interjected, saying she was “shocked” and “disappointed” by the order.

“I am very disappointed with the system….This has sent the wrong message that culprits easily go away by killing anyone,” she told the judge even as he asked her to calm down and use legal remedy of appeal in the superior court.

Judge Sharma said, “We have to consider their age. We empathise with victims. Families were lost, lives were lost. It can never be compensated. But penal policy is not retribution…Morally, I agree that your arguments were very impactful but have to be considered legally…We have to consider that they have also suffered because of their deeds…”

Krishnamoorthy kept objecting as the judge continued to dictate the order, saying that the case is not only about the Ansals but of other convicts as well.

“I totally agree with what SC judge Justice DY Chandrachud had said that we have a parallel legal system in our country—one for the rich and one for the poor. It has been proven today because this is not the first time that Uphaar victims have been let down by the system. Earlier, it was the Supreme Court in 2015 when Ansals were allowed to walk free because of old age, and now again the same thing happened,” Krishnamoorthy said later while talking to HT.

The complainant in the matter, and the chairman of the Association of Victims of Uphaar Tragedy (AVUT), Krishnamoorthy also questioned the judgement. “What happened in the court was a complete sham. If this is the kind of justice that is offered then it would lead to anarchy. This judgment helps give me a reason to pick up a gun and shoot them (convicts) and then even my old age should be taken into consideration…I have been living alone from the last 25 years and don’t have anyone to even cremate me after I die,” she said.

She added that she would write to the Chief Justice of India (CJI), the law ministry and other officials. She added that she would file an appeal only if she is given an assurance by the CJI that the judge hearing the matter is not “compromised” and does not have a “soft corner for the Ansals”.

Senior advocate Vikas Pahwa, for AVUT, said that the sentence is highly inadequate and is not commensurate with the magnitude of the crime committed by the Ansal brothers, retired court staff Dinesh Chandra Sharma and others.

He said that once tampering of court records has been proved, the punishment imposed should have been in proportion to the gravity of the offence and reducing it is “extremely unfortunate”, sending a wrong signal to the society.

“The court completely ignored that they are previous convicts and are facing many more cases which are pending investigation and criminal trials…With this lenient approach the society may get an impression that the rich and powerful people who interfered with the administration of justice by tampering evidence can go with such mild sentence...,” he said.

Public prosecutor AT Ansari said that he is “highly disappointed” with the order.

“There appears to be no justification in taking such a lenient view showing misplaced sympathy which practically has not only reduced the criminal justice system to a mockery, but it has also shocked the conscience of the society. Such a disproportionately unjustified sentence humiliates and frustrates the victims of crime and erodes the faith of the society in the criminal justice system.”

He added, “Principle of proportionality between the nature of crime and punishment cannot be thrown over the board. To my mind tampering with judicial records in an ongoing trial of such an important case is worse than the offence of murder”.

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    Reports from the Delhi High Court and stories on legal developments in the city. Avid mountain lover, cooking and playing with birds 🐦 when not at work

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