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Representative Image, Trial By Fire poster (Image Source: Twitter)
Representative Image, Trial By Fire poster (Image Source: Twitter)

Delhi HC refuses stay on release of Uphaar tragedy based web series 'Trial By Fire'

ANI | Updated: Jan 12, 2023 20:17 IST

New Delhi [India], January 12 (ANI): The Delhi High Court on Thursday refused to grant an interim stay in a suit moved by Real Estate baron Sushil Ansal against the upcoming Web series 'Trial By Fire' based on the 1997 Uphaar Cinema tragedy.
The Bench of Justice Yashwant Varma rejected the plea of Real-Estate Baron Sushil Ansal for Ad-Interim relief in the matter.
Businessman Sushil Ansal, who was convicted in the Upahar Tragedy case, through a suit also sought a permanent and mandatory injunction restraining the Production company and others from releasing the limited web series titled 'Trial By Fire' which is slated for release on January 13, 2023, on the OTT platform of Netflix.
Netflix's upcoming series Trial By Fire is based on the bestselling book, Trial By Fire: The Tragic Tale of the Uphaar Fire Tragedy written by Neelam Krishnamoorthy and Shekhar Krishnamoorthy. Series stars Rajshri Deshpande and Abhay Deol as the authors Neelam and Shekhar.
Appearing for Plaintiff Sushil Ansal's senior Advocate Siddharth Aggarwal submitted that he (Sushil Ansal) was held guilty under Section 304A of IPC i.e. Causing death by Negligence and not murder. It is well settled that negligence excludes mens rea and therefore, to call Ansal, a 'murderer' and a killer in the 'Impugned series.'
"Book is grossly defamatory and wilfully false," Advocate Siddharth Aggarwal said.
Senior Advocate Vikas Pahwa appeared for Upahar Tragedy Victims Association opposed the suit and said, "When the book was published, an application was filed in the Apex Court that they shouldn't be allowed to travel abroad. Notice was issued to them and reference of the book was in application."

On behalf of Netflix, Senior Advocate Rajiv Nayar said, "submit that Plaintiff is not entitled to any relief and book, on which this web series is based, in public domain since 2016 is being given a character of a picture. The concept of book has been transformed into a film. On January 4, when the official trailer was released the plaintiff didn't approach the court. He approaches only on January 10 when we are scheduled to release the series on January 13, 2023."
Sushil Ansal also sought restraint of further publication and circulation of the book, published by Penguin Random House Ltd.
The suit stated that the 'impugned series' is said to be based on true events pertaining to the tragic fire that took place on June 13, 1997, at Uphaar Cinema in Green Park, New Delhi. The official teaser/trailer for the series was released on January 4, with direct references to the plaintiff and the dramatized role of the plaintiff in the said incident and its aftermath.
The portrayal of the plaintiff in the trailer and teaser of the series has the propensity to cause further immense and irreparable harm to the Plaintiff's (Sushil Ansal) reputation and his right to life under Article 21 of the Constitution of India, the suit continued.
Ansal stated that the release of the series will lead to further prejudice and harm to him and will be in grave breach of his fundamental rights, inter alia, to privacy as envisaged by the Constitution, it stated.
It said that on January 4, the plaintiff and his family "were shocked and perturbed to come across a trailer on the OTT platform of Netflix announcing the release of the Impugned Series titled 'Trial by Fire' starring prominent actors, produced by Endemol India Pvt Ltd and House of Talkies".
On June 13, 1997, a fire broke out in the erstwhile Uphaar Cinema at Green Park, New Delhi, in which 59 people lost their lives and over 100 were injured. The fire broke out during the screening of the Hindi film 'Border'.
Sushil Ansal, along with his brother and several others, were convicted in the case that came to be known as the 'Uphaar tragedy'.
The owners of the Uphaar Cinema, Gopal and Sushil Ansal, were sentenced to a year in prison after they were found guilty of causing deaths by negligence. However, the latter was pardoned due to his old age. (ANI)