“We will ask them to pay Rs 30
crore each… that’s it. We will give our reasoning tomorrow. A detailed order
will be pronounced tomorrow.” - Indian
The Supreme Court bench summed up
its conclusion - while reducing the jail terms of Sushil Ansal and Gopal Ansal
- in the 1997 Uphaar Cinema fire tragedy that took 59 lives and left around 100
Irrespective of the reasons
behind it, the decision saw widespread disappointment with analyses pointing
that 'life cannot be compensated with money.'
The Ansal brothers, owner of Uphaar
Cinema, and others were first imprisoned for two years (by the trial court),
then for one year (by the high court) and then were finally let off with their
'already served' some five months jail period.
Obviously, it is to be seen that
what made the top court reach at this decision - in a trial that lasted for 18
years - where expensive lawyers of Ansals were on side and a long agonizing
wait of the victims on the other side - but the central government must appeal
against it without delay.
The CBI must file the review
petition as soon as possible - with the sole aim to compensate the delay so
It becomes all the more
important, with hopes rekindled, after India's official response at the
International Tribunal of the Law for the Sea at Hamburg (ITLOS) during hearing in
Italian marines trial case.
''Murders are not compensable
offences under Section 302 of the Indian Penal Code”, said India's legal
representative Alain Pellet there.
He added - “I cannot help being troubled
and (am) quite disturbed by Sir Daniel offer (Italy’s counsel), which I feel to
be a kind of proposal to buy impunity for the two marines who stand accused of
murder." - New Indian Express
The case dates back to February
2012 when two Italian marines, Salvatore Girone and Massimiliano Lattore, in
the security detail of merchant ship Enrica Lexie, had shot dead two Kerala fishermen
off the Kerala coast.
Italy gave compensation to the
families affected and they dropped the case but India's central government
didn't budge - in spite of Italy's delaying tactics and in spite of Italy's
duplicity to move back from its 'sovereign word' as India argued, as India experienced
after Italy breached the trust by refusing to send back marines from Italy to
India after India's Supreme Court had allowed them to go back to Italy to
participate in polls there.
ITLOS suspended the trial in
India in its order till the next date but it also didn't accept Italy's pleas.
One marine that is India, will remain in India.
Similar spirit is needed by the
central government and its investigating agencies in cases like Uphaar Cinema
fire where trials languish for years for reasons that, in fact, don't stand as
'reasons' for an intelligible and neutral mind.