22 years after seven people died in Gurugram stampede, Supreme Court orders trial to resume

The case pertains to a blast in June 1996, in a chemical factory. Forty-five workers, who were present in the factory, ran for their safety and in the resulting mayhem seven of them died in a stampede. A murder case was lodged by workers against the directors of the company.

delhi Updated: Aug 21, 2018 14:05 IST
HT Correspondent
stampede,Supreme Court,blast
The Supreme Court on Monday asked the trial court to complete the proceedings within a year.(AFP)

Twenty-two years after seven people died in stampede caused by a blast in a Gurugram chemical factory, the Supreme Court on Monday ordered commencement of trial against the directors of the company and asked the trial court to complete the proceedings within a year.

A bench of Justices AM Sapre and SK Kaul said, “It is really unfortunate that due to pendency of this litigation and the stay operating, the trial in the case remained stayed for all these years. It benefited the respondents who, despite not questioning the altering of the charge by the high court, did not face trial even for altered charge.”

The case pertains to an incident in June 1996, in a chemical factory, M/s Kee Pharma Private Limited.

The factory premises was filled with smoke following a blast. Forty-five workers, who were present in the factory, ran for their safety and in the resulting mayhem seven of them died in a stampede.

A murder case was lodged by workers against the directors of the company. The directors challenged the case in the high court, which reduced the murder charges (under section 302 IPC) to one of causing death by negligence, under section 304-A IPC.

Section 304-A of the IPC says: Whoever causes the death of any person by doing any rash or negligent act not amounting to culpable homicide, shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to two years, or with fine, or with both.

Under the Indian penal code, the maximum punishment for a charge of murder, section 302, is death penalty while for section 304-A, causing death by negligence is two years in jail.

Aggrieved by the high court order, the state challenged curtailing of charges in the Supreme Court.

The top court on Monday refused to interfere with the lesser charge of section 304-A set by the high court, but said, the trial court will decide whether any case under Section 304-A IPC has been made out against the respondents or not and, if so, what punishment can be imposed on them for commission of such offence, and if not, then why.

First Published: Aug 21, 2018 05:59 IST