Lakhimpur Kheri Massacre: Supreme Court unhappy with the probe

The judge observed that the investigation is not done properly. The Bench also expressed its displeasure with the media's coverage of the incident.

lakhimpur kheri

The Supreme Court today expressed its displeasure with the manner in which the Uttar Pradesh government and police were handling the Lakhimpur Kheri incident, in which eight persons were killed.

A Bench of Chief Justice of India NV Ramana and Justices Surya Kant and Hima Kohli was hearing a 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.

Appearing for the Uttar Pradesh government, Senior Advocate Harish Salve 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 added,

“I was told that post mortem did not show any bullet wounds. That is why 160 CrPC notice was sent…but the manner in which car was driven, allegations are true. I am saying allegations are true and there is a 302 case.”

CJI Ramana replied,

This is a responsible State government and police. When there is a serious allegation of death or gun shot injury, will other accused in this country be treated the same way?”
When Salve insisted that the post mortem report did not show any gun shot injury, the Court asked,

“So this is a ground for not taking custody of the accused?”

“They have found two cartridges. Maybe he had bad aim and he missed,” was Salve’s response.

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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.

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 the 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 Court then expressed its inclination to hear the matter after the Dussehra vacation.

“Please ask the DGP to ensure that the evidence is protected and not destroyed in the interim, by the time another agency takes it over.”

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.”

On October 7, the Court sought a status report from the Uttar Pradesh government on the FIR registered and arrests made in connection with the Lakhimpur Kheri incident, in which eight persons including farmers were allegedly mowed down by the four-wheeler of Ashish Mishra, son of Union Minister of State Ajay Mishra Teni.

The Court was then informed that a judicial commission of inquiry as well as a Special Investigation Team (SIT) has been constituted and that an FIR has been registered.

Also sought by the Bench were details of the public interest litigation petitions pending before the Allahabad High Court on the issue.

The case was taken up by the Supreme Court after two lawyers from Uttar Pradesh had written a letter to CJI NV Ramana seeking a probe by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI).


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April 2024


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