Green Park Theatres Associated Pvt. Ltd & Ors Vs. Association of VICTIMS of
Uphaar Tragedy & Ors  Insc 398 (17 August 2001)
Babu & Doraiswamy Raju Rajendra Babu, J. :
J U D
G M E N T
broke out at Uphaar theatre on the evening of June 30, 1997 in consequence of which a number of persons were either
killed or injured. An Association was formed of victims of Uphaar tragedy. They
filed a writ petition on the ground that the public authorities failed to
discharge their statutory obligations and the standard of safeguards set out
under the statute and the rules framed thereunder for the purpose of preventing
a hazards of breaking out of fire was not observed. The license and permits to
the theatre were issued contrary to the mandatory provisions of the statute and
rules. The petitioners thereafter sought for adequate compensation to the
victims in the said tragedy from the respondents for failure to observe the
statutory obligations and also on the basis of the fundamental rights guaranteed
under the Constitution.
respondents in the writ petition, who are petitioners before us, raised a
preliminary objection that the writ petition is not maintainable on various
grounds that the extraordinary remedy of a writ petition cannot be used in case
of a break out of fire in a theatre which is the result of complex series of
causative factors for claiming and awarding damages to hundreds of persons as
against the statutory authorities and the company owning the theatre. It was
also detailed that the precise cause of the incident, the role of each of the
individual parties and the extent of their blameworthiness, the manner in which
the liability has to be apportioned and as to who are entitled to claim the
damages and what is the extent of that amount ought to be awarded to each one
of them and such questions relate to causation, the extent of culpability,
people entitled to claim damages and the amount due to them and all such
questions involve complex investigation based on evidence. Therefore, the writ
petition was not an appropriate remedy and could not be maintained.
Division Bench of the High Court considered the various contentions raised in
the course of the arguments and wrote an order running to nearly 100 pages and
ultimately held that at the preliminary stage the question of maintenance of
the petition was being considered and, therefore, it is not deciding the case
of merits. The facts referred to in the course of the order are as stated by
the parties and not as found by way of a decision on merits. The observations
and the reference to facts in the course of the order were only of preliminary
character. The High Court held that all the court could say is that it could
not be concluded that the petition could not be maintained.
learned counsel for the petitioners before us raised an apprehension that the
court might adopt some procedure of appointing a Commission to gather certain
facts which, by itself, may not be sufficient to dispose of the matter and that
the Commission appointed would only to report whether the rules and regulations
were complied therewith or not and no more.
be the apprehensions of the learned counsel they could very well be pointed out
to the learned Judges of the High Court who would hear the matter ultimately
before the High Court and address their arguments as to the manner in which a
dispute of this nature could be resolved satisfactorily. We are sure that when
such arguments are addressed before the High Court, they will be appropriately
considered and therefore, there is absolutely no basis for any apprehension of
this nature as entertained by the learned counsel for the petitioners.
the nature of the order passed by the High Court and the arguments addressed
before us, we do not think, there is any justification for us to interfere with
the order made by the High Court.
petition stands rejected.
RAJENDRA BABU ] ....J.
DORAISWAMY RAJU ] AUGUST