New Delhi (PTI): The Supreme Court announced on Tuesday that it would constitute a bench to hear a plea on Wednesday challenging the granting of bail by the Allahabad High Court to Ashish Mishra, son of Union Minister Ajay Mishra, in connection with the Lakhimpur Kheri of the violence which left eight dead, including four farmers.
A bench headed by Chief Justice NV Ramana took note of the statement by lawyer Prashant Bhushan, appearing for some farmers, that there had been an attack on one of the key witnesses in the case.
Those who attacked the witness threatened that now that the BJP had won, they would take care of him, Bhushan said, adding that other co-defendants were also asking for bail based on the Allahabad High Court order granting bail to Ashish Mishra.
The CJI said it would constitute the bench that heard the case earlier and list it for a hearing on Wednesday.
A CJI bench and Judges Surya Kant and Hima Kohli previously heard the case relating to the incident which left eight people dead, including four farmers, and appointed a former High Court judge for Punjab and Haryana , to monitor the investigation. .
On March 11, the high court agreed to list for hearing on Tuesday the plea requesting the cancellation of Mishra’s bail in the case.
A single-judge bench of the High Court on February 10 had granted bail to Mishra who had spent four months in detention.
Three family members of farmers who were killed in the violence have sought a stay of the High Court’s Feb. 10 bail order, saying the verdict was untenable in the eyes of the law because the state provided no meaningful and effective assistance to the court in this matter.
Recently, another plea requesting the cancellation of Ashish Mishra’s bail was filed by attorneys Shiv Kumar Tripathi and CS Panda on whose letter the Supreme Court had suo motu knowledge of the incident.
On October 3 last year, eight people were killed in Lakhimpur Kheri in violence that erupted when farmers were protesting the visit of Uttar Pradesh Deputy Chief Minister Keshav Prasad Maurya to the area.
Four farmers were moved by the SUV. A driver and two BJP workers were then allegedly lynched by angry farmers.
A journalist also died in the violence that sparked outrage among opposition parties and farmers’ groups agitating against the Center’s now-repealed farm laws.
On November 17 last year, the Supreme Court appointed Justice Rakesh Kumar Jain, a former High Court Justice of Punjab and Haryana, to oversee the investigation by the SIT of Uttar Pradesh.
Mishra’s bail waiver request was filed by farmers, Jagjeet Singh, Pawan Kashyap and Sukhwinder Singh, through Bhushan.
The plea read: The absence of any discussion in the order of the High Court with respect to the principles laid down for the granting of bail is due to the absence of any substantial submission to that effect by the State, as the accused wields substantial influence over the government of the State as his father is a labor minister from the same political party that rules the State.
The impugned order is untenable in the eyes of the law because there was no meaningful and effective state assistance to the court in this case, contrary to the purpose of the first provision of the Article 439 of the 1973 Code of Criminal Procedure, which provides that in serious offenses the request for release on bail should normally be addressed to the public prosecutor.
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