How long can main accused in Lakhimpur Kheri case be kept in prison, Supreme Court asks UP Govt : The Tribune India

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How long can main accused in Lakhimpur Kheri case be kept in prison, Supreme Court asks UP Govt

Seeks tentative timeline for conclusion of trial

How long can main accused in Lakhimpur Kheri case be kept in prison, Supreme Court asks UP Govt


Tribune News Service

New Delhi, December 12

Stating that a balance had to be struck between the rights of the victims and the accused, the Supreme Court on Monday asked how long the Lakhimpur Kheri violence case main accused and Union Minister Ajay Mishra Teni’s son Ashish Mishra could be kept in jail.

Ashish Mishra

“In cases of bail, we consider the seriousness of the crime, the period which the trial will take and also the period spent by the accused. Can he be kept in jail indefinitely? How to balance? The accused also has rights as the victims,” a Bench led by Justice Surya Kant asked the UP Government counsel. Contending that there were statements of eyewitnesses regarding Ashish’s presence at the crime scene, UP Additional Advocate General Garima Prashad opposed his bail plea, pointing out that his discharge application was dismissed by the trial court and charges had been framed against him.

Four farmers were mowed down by an SUV in Lakhimpur Kheri when those against farm laws were holding a demonstration against UP Deputy CM Keshav Prasad Maurya’s visit on October 3, 2021. In the subsequent violence, two BJP workers, a driver and a journalist were killed. It was alleged that Ashish was sitting in one of the cars.

A Lakhimpur Kheri court had on December 6 framed charges against Ashish and 12 others for murder, criminal conspiracy and certain other offences. Virendra Shukla, the 14th accused who is out on bail, has been charged under Section 201 of IPC for causing disappearance of evidence. The trial is expected to commence on December 16.

On behalf of victims’ families, senior counsel Dushyant Dave also opposed Mishra’s bail plea, highlighting the grave nature of the crime. His release on bail would expose the witnesses to danger, Dave said even as the Bench pointed out that they had already ordered protection to be extended to them.

The Bench asked the Registrar (Judicial) to find out from the Additional Sessions Judge at Lakhimpur Kheri as to how much time the trial court was likely to take to conclude in the normal course without compromising on the schedule of other pending cases. The court posted the matter for further hearing after the winter vacation. On behalf of Mishra, senior advocate Mukul Rohatgi contended he was not at the crime scene as he was elsewhere watching a wrestling match. Mishra was not there in the car when the alleged incident occurred and that none died due to the alleged firing by him and that there were records of mobile tower locations to prove it.

Noting that his client had been in jail for more than a year, he pointed out that the trial was likely to take time as there were 200 witnesses in the case.

The Supreme Court had on September 6 issued notice to the UP Government on Ashish’s bail plea and asked it to respond to his petition challenging the Allahabad High Court’s July 26 order rejecting his bail plea.

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#ajay mishra #ashish mishra #lakhimpur kheri #supreme court


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