The Supreme Court on Monday referred to the Allahabad High Court verdict in the Lakhimpur Kheri violence matter and questioned the detailed examination of evidence like postmortem report while granting bail to Ashish Mishra, son of Union minister Ajay Mishra, in the case.
A special bench comprising Chief Justice N V Ramana and Justices Surya Kant and Hima Kohli also reserved its verdict on the plea seeking cancellation of bail granted to Ashish Mishra in the case.
How can the judge go into postmortem report etc. We are hearing a bail matter, we do not want to prolong.This way of going into merits and going into wounds etc. is unnecessary for the question of bail, the bench observed.
Senior advocate Dushayant Dave and lawyer Prashant Bhushan, appearing for the farmers, sought cancellation of the bail alleging that the high court overlooked the probe report and went by the FIR while granting the relief to the accused.
The state government though termed the offence grave and said that all the witnesses have been granted protection.
On March 16, the top court had sought responses of the Uttar Pradesh government and Ashish Mishra, on a plea challenging the grant of bail to him.
It had also directed the state government to ensure protection of witnesses after the counsel, appearing for farmers, referred to the attack on a key witness on March 10.
On October 3 last year, eight people were killed in Lakhimpur Kheri during violence that erupted when farmers were protesting against Uttar Pradesh Deputy Chief Minister Keshav Prasad Maurya’s visit to the area.
Four farmers were mowed down by an SUV, in which Ashish Mishra was seated, according to the UP Police FIR. Following the incident, the driver and two BJP workers were allegedly lynched by angry farmers.
A journalist also died in the violence that triggered outrage among opposition parties and farmer groups agitating over the Centre’s now-repealed agricultural reform laws.