SUPREME COURT JUDGE JUSTICE AGRAWAL DISQUALIFIES HIMSELF FROM HEARING UPHAAR CASE

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In a new twist in Uphaar theater fire tragedy case Justice B N Agrawal, presiding Judge of the Supreme Court bench, has disqualified himself from the bench hearing the case relating to sentence and conviction of Sushil Ansal and Gopal Ansal.

Justice Agrawal, who had earlier cancelled the bail of two Ansal brothers, decided to withdraw from the case following circulation of a letter by senior counsel Ram Jethmalani engaged by Ansals, expressing his reservation against the impartiality of Justice Agrawal.

According to the letter, Jethmalani had written an article against Justice Agrawal in 2005 and therefore, it will be in the interest of Justice that the case is heard by another bench.

A bench comprising Justices Agrawal and G S Singhvi directed the registry to place the matter before Chief Justice of India K G Balakrishnan for allotting the case to some appropriate bench.

Ansal brothers, whose sentence has been reduced from two years to one year by the Delhi High Court have challenged their conviction and sentence awarded by the High Court.

On June 13, 1997 more than 50 people, including women and children, were suffocated to death when Uphaar cinema in Green Park, South Delhi caught fire during a show.

The same bench had cancelled the bail of Ansal brothers and two others in September last year on the grounds that they had misused their liberty by tampering with the case record in the trial court.

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