Srirangam marriage hall fire: HC upholds conviction of three, acquits one

Electrician Murugesan was also found guilty but his sentence- six months rigorous imprisonment- was not lowered as the main cause of the accident was unsafe drawing of electricity connection.

Published: 10th June 2020 01:49 PM  |   Last Updated: 10th June 2020 01:49 PM   |  A+A-

By Express News Service

MADURAI: The Madurai Bench of Madras High Court upheld the conviction of three persons and acquitted one in the Srirangam marriage hall fire case. As many as 64 persons died and 33 others sustained burn injuries in the fire accident that happened in 2004.

Justice GR Swaminathan passed the order on the appeals filed by four of the six accused in the case - videographer Dharmaraj, owner of the Padmapriya marriage hall Ramasamy, manager of the hall Sadagopan and electrician Murugesan - challenging the Tiruchy Sessions Court's judgment in 2012.

Stating that Dharmaraj cannot be held accountable for the mistake committed by his assistant Balaji, the judge acquitted the videographer of the charges. The justice said that Balaji ought to have held the focus lamp at a safe distance from the thatched roof and decoration papers.

However, citing Supreme Court's opinion on principles of penal liability in its judgment in Uphaar Cinema hall fire case, Justice Swaminathan held that Ramasamy and Sadagopan are responsible for the fire accident, the former by running an unlicensed marriage hall and the latter by failing to monitor the arrangements properly.

He therefore confirmed their conviction but, considering their age, reduced their sentences - three months simple imprisonment to Ramasamy and six months simple imprisonment to Sadagoapan. The lower court had earlier imposed two-year and one-year sentences respectively to the duo.

Electrician Murugesan was also found guilty but his sentence- six months rigorous imprisonment- was not lowered as the main cause of the accident was unsafe drawing of electricity connection.

Compensation to victims

Since Ramasamy has taken an undertaking to pay `40 lakh towards compensation to the victims within six weeks, the judge further directed Principal District Judge of Tiruchy to ensure that the amount is disbursed to the affected persons. He added that it should not be a mechanical distribution but should be based on dependency and need factor.



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