18 years after 59 people lost their lives in the Uphaar Cinema fire in New Delhi, the Supreme Court let off the accused Ansal brothers with a Rs 60 crore fine, to be given to the Delhi government towards the setting up of a trauma centre. However, in a debate on CNN-IBN, Neelam Krishnamurthy, who lost her two children in the fire, lashed out at the judgement, citing structural callousness as the cause of deaths. They used the basement for storage, and smoke went through the AC ducts. All the people who had died were in the balcony. In the balcony, exits were bolted and one exit was converted into a private enclosure. Had there been a exit, they could have accessed the staircase, and got out alive. And there is no point of another trauma centre. The trauma centre already exists and it has come up next to Safdarjung hospital, and in 2000, 55 crore was released for this purpose. This 60 crore penalty should be rejected by the Delhi government. The Supreme Court should use this to better its system in order to ensure timely execution of justice. This is blood money. — Neelam KrishnamurthyWhile Krishnamurthy expressed outrage at the judgment, former Attorney General Soli Sorabjee stated that justice had been delivered, albeit in a washed-out fashion. The Supreme Court has not overturned the conviction, and they have not said that they (the Ansals) are not guilty. The only question is the quantum of punishment. The fact is that people lost their lives, and the mindset of judges have made them accept the offer of 30 crore – justice does not operate like pressing the button on an instant coffee machine. However, justice has been done, and they have been convicted. But, something like a trauma centre will not take away from the trauma suffered by the families. The option of review petitions are still available. — Soli Sorabjee, Former Attorney General At the same time, Paramita Guhathakurtha, who lost her mother in the fire at Kolkata’s AMRI hospital, stated that justice delivered more than a decade after a tragedy, serves no purpose. We have been fighting for 3 years and 8 months for the victims of the AMRI fire to get justice. And after 18 years, this judgement means that money power is everything and human life has no value. At Uphaar, the transformer was placed in the basement – why was it there? The Ansals were responsible. If I’m driving a car and I know the breaks have failed, I know that it can cause an accident and I continue driving anyway. It’s the same case with Uphaar. Justice delayed is justice denied. This just means that all the industrialists who run a company will not execute any security procedures and the safety of people will be taken for granted. — Paramita GuhathakurtaSenior lawyer Sanjay Hegde, however, argued that it was the responsibility of the courts to ensure that this kind of a judgement should not be repeated in future.The Supreme Court increased the fine and told the Ansals that they needn’t do more jail time. The jury seems to have been persuaded that the better option was to draw a line and close this matter. I hope, and I trust that such mistakes do not happen in the future. This may become an example for the AMRI hearing too. And the court needs to ensure such miscarriages do not occur again. — Sanjay Hegde, Senior Lawyer However, former Additional Solicitor General Vikas Singh staunchly stood by the Supreme Court’s judgement and stated that the Ansals were unnecessarily being asked to cough up the penalty. This is not a precedent for the AMRI investigation in any way. This Rs 60 crore is being used for a good cause. If such an accident were to happen in future, and you have a good trauma centre then you can save many more lives. The message is clear that someone who is innocent (the Ansal brothers) has been asked to pay a huge fine.— Vikas Singh, Former Additional Solicitor General We'll get through this! Meanwhile, here's all you need to know about the Coronavirus outbreak to keep yourself safe, informed, and updated. The Quint is now available on Telegram & WhatsApp too, Click here to join.