Lakhimpur Kheri violence: SC to hear petition against bail to Ashish Mishra on March 11 : The Tribune India

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Lakhimpur Kheri violence: SC to hear petition against bail to Ashish Mishra on March 11

Petitioners point out that other accused are also moving courts for bail, seeking parity with the prime accused

Lakhimpur Kheri violence: SC to hear petition against bail to Ashish Mishra on March 11

(L-R) Ajay Mishra and Ashish Mishra



Tribune News Service

Satya Prakash

New Delhi, March 4

The Supreme Court on Friday agreed to take up on March 11 a petition challenging an order of the Allahabad High Court granting bail to prime accused and union minister Ajay Mishra’s son Ashish Mishra in the Lakhimpur Kheri violence case.

Four farmers were mowed down by an SUV in Lakhimpur Kheri when those against farm laws were holding a demonstration against Uttar Pradesh Deputy Chief Minister Keshav Prasad Maurya’s visit on October 3, 2021. Two BJP workers and a driver were beaten to death allegedly by angry protesters. A local journalist was also killed in the violence. The Allahabad High Court had on February 10 granted bail to Ashish Mishra.

“I can list on March 11 only. Other judges have to be available,” Chief Justice of India NV Ramana, who was hearing a three-judge Bench, told advocate Prashant Bhushan after the latter pointed out that other accused were also moving courts for bail, seeking parity with the prime accused.

Bhushan said while granting the bail the high court didn’t follow the law laid down by the top court and did not consider aspects such as the possibility of tampering with evidence and fleeing from justice.

“The problem is that other accused are also moving court,” Bhushan said, seeking a direction to the high court not to consider the bail plea of other accused for the time being.

The Bench asked Bhushan to inform the high court that the top court would hear the matter on March 11.

Family members of farmers killed in the Lakhimpur Kheri violence had on February 21 moved the Supreme Court challenging the Allahabad High Court’s February 10 order granting bail to Ashish Mishra.

The family members of the murdered farmers said they filed the petition against the high court's order "as the State of Uttar Pradesh where the political party of the accused and his father is in power has failed to file appeal against the impugned order".

Earlier, advocates Shiv Kumar Tripathi and CS Panda had filed a plea in the top court on February 17 challenging the high court's order.

The bail order has “manifest error” as the high court has rested its reasoning on “presumption and guesswork” using the word “might” to arrive at a conclusion that the said crime culminated in a possibility of the driver trying to speed up the vehicle to save himself, they had submitted.

The family members of the deceased farmers termed the bail as "an improper and arbitrary exercise of the discretion" by the high court.

They said the grant of bail was contrary to settled law as the high court granted bail without considering "the heinous nature of the crime; the character of the overwhelming evidence against the accused in the charge sheet; position and status of the accused with reference to the victim and witnesses; the likelihood of the accused fleeing from justice and repeating the offence; and the possibility of his tampering with the witnesses and obstructing the course of justice".

The top court had on November 17 last year appointed Punjab and Haryana High Court’s retired judge Rakesh Kumar Jain to monitor the probe into the case “to assure full and complete justice to the victims of crime” and “to ensure transparency, fairness and absolute impartiality in the outcome of the investigation…which is to be conducted in a time-bound manner”.

It had reconstituted the UP Government-appointed SIT by adding three senior IPS officers SB Shiradkar, Padmaja Chauhan and Preetinder Singh.

 

 

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