The Supreme Court on Tuesday agreed to hear on Friday a plea by Uphaar owner Gopal Ansal not to be jailed for a fire that killed 59 persons at the cinema in 1997.

Arguing that he does not want to undergo the remaining part of his one-year sentence, Gopal Ansal’s plea seeks parity with elder brother Sushil Ansal who was let off with the sentence he has already served.

Sushil Ansal’s age and ailments were taken into consideration while not sending him to prison.

A three-judge bench headed by Chief Justice Jagdish Singh Khehar will hear the matter on Friday.

Gopal Ansal moved the court urging it to modify its order sending him to jail, with almost a week left for him to surrender.

The court on February 9 sentenced the builder to one year in jail.

Gopal Ansal was to surrender by March 9 to serve seven months in jail as he has been jailed for four months previously.

He said the court could not deny him the same relief extended to Sushil Ansal because his medical condition too was equally precarious.

Gopal Ansal wants the court to extend the time of his surrender till it decides his application.

He said he has hearing impairment, due to which he claimed he has fainted several times.

Expressing “genuine remorse” for those who died in the “unfortunate tragedy”, he contended he had borne the punishment more than he deserved.

The court had said that since Gopal Ansal, 69, did not suffer any age-related complications, as was the case with Sushil Ansal, 77, there could be no principle of parity and he must spend one year in prison.

The Ansals, who co-owned the Uphaar cinema in south Delhi, were held guilty of “criminal negligence” but escaped jail terms beyond a few months after the top court’s 2015 order.

A huge fire broke out at Uphaar when Hindi movie “Border” was being screened on June 13, 1997. Trapped inside, 59 persons died of asphyxia and over 100 were injured in a stampede.

First Published | 28 February 2017 1:30 PM
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