Oct 8, 2021 10:09 UTC
Oct 8, 2021 at 10:09 UTC
SC not satisfied with UP Police probe in Lakhimpur Kheri incident
The Supreme Court expressed its dissatisfaction over the way in which the Uttar Pradesh Government and the police is investigating the Lakhimpur Kheri incident case wherein a total of 8 lives were lost, four of them being farmers protesters who were allegedly mowed down by the vehicles in the convoy of Ashish Mishra, the son of Union State Home Minister and BJP MP Ajay Kumar Mishra.
A Bench of Chief Justice of India NV Ramana, Justice Surya Kant and Justice Hima Kohli were hearing the petition registered on the basis of letters seeking registration of an FIR in the matter as well as punishment to the guilty parties involved in the incident.
Senior Advocate Harish Salve appearing on behalf of the State of Uttar Pradesh informed the Court that Ashish Mishra, who allegedly mowed down protesting farmers with his car, has been asked to appear at 11 am tomorrow. He has also assured that satisfactory steps will be taken and investigation by an alternate agency will be explored.
During the proceeding, the bench asked why the accused has not been arrested. When Salve said that the police has served the summons on the main accused Ashish Mishra, the bench asked if that was the norm in all murder cases.
CJI Ramana then observed that looking at the way the investigation was proceeding, it did not seem that the authorities were serious.
“Action is only in words here. What is the message we are sending?”
“It’s a brutal murder of 8 persons. Law must take its course against all accused,” Justice Kant added.
Salve assured the Court that between today and tomorrow, all the shortfalls would be addressed.
The Court then asked whether the State had requested the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) to take over the probe. Salve replied,
“Entirely in your lordships’ hand. The State has not made such a request. Please have this on reopening. If you are not satisfied with the progress, hand it over to CBI.”
CJI Ramana then said,
“Mr Salve, we have respect for you. We hope the state will take necessary steps due to the sensitivity of the issue. We are not making comments. CBI is not a solution for reasons known to you…because of the persons…better some other person looks into (the case).”
The Bench also expressed its displeasure with the media’s coverage of the incident, with Justice Kant saying,
“We are sorry to see how media is exceeding freedom of speech and expression. CJI is gracious enough to let this go else proceedings could take place.”
In its order, the Bench stated,
“Learned counsel explains various steps taken by State government. Status report was filed, and we are not satisfied by steps taken.”
“Counsel assures he will satisfy the Court and also apprise Court of an alternative agency which can conduct the probe. List this matter immediately on reopening. Counsel has assured that highest police officer in the State will be informed to preserve the evidence in the case.”