Lakhimpur Kheri Trial Will take 5 years: SC on Ashish Mishra Bail Plea

SC says that there are more than 200 witnesses and it will take at least 5 years based on the status report on the case.

lakhimpur kheri

The Supreme Court on Wednesday observed that the trial in the case concerning the 2021 Lakhimpur Kheri violence in which Ashish Mishra stands accused, may take up to five years, as per a status report submitted in the matter.

A Bench of Justices Surya Kant and V Ramasubramanian, while referring to the status report on the case, orally observed,

“Report says it will take at least 5 years. More than 200 witnesses.”

The Supreme Court had, last month, asked its registrar to ascertain from the Additional Sessions Judge at Lakhimpur Kheri as to how much time the trial in the case on Lakhimpur Kheri violence is likely to take to a conclusion.

The top Court was hearing a bail plea moved by Ashish Mishra, son of Union Home Minister of State Ajay Mishra, who is the prime accused in the 2021 Lakhimpur Kheri violence case in which 8 persons were mowed down by a four-wheeler.

Appearing for the complainants, advocate Prashant Bhushan today urged the Court to hold the trial on a day-to-day basis in the main case, while also raising concerns that the complainants were facing threats as reported by the bar & 

There are material witnesses, who were threatened and badly beaten up. They can be examined first on a day-to-day basis… It needs a day-to-day trial. They have been threatened, Minister had said a lesson will be taught,” Bhushan submitted.

We are aware,” the Bench responded.

Three people were brutally attacked,” Bhushan added.

Senior Advocate Mukul Rohatgi, who appeared for Mishra asserted that the allegations are totally false.

The Supreme Court eventually proceeded to ask whether a day-to-day trial may be in the interest of the case, since it may adversely affect the prosecution’s case.

Mr Bhushan you want Mr Dave to argue or … Because fixing a timeline may cause serious prejudice to the prosecution case,” the Court observed.

Hold the trial on a day-to-day basis and deal with the material witnesses first. It cannot be that the son of a Minister who carries a firearm… and mows down people and beats witnesses is not a threat,” Bhushan replied.

The Court proceeded to list the bail plea for hearing on January 19, after directing the AAG to confirm whether the co-accused in the case were still in custody. During the course of the hearing today, the Supreme Court was also informed that the trial in the matter is listed for further hearing on January 13.

Lakhimpur-Kheri Incident

On October 3, 2021, eight people were killed in Lakhimpur Kheri during violence that erupted when farmers were protesting against the now-revoked farm laws. The protestors had impeded the visit of Uttar Pradesh Deputy Chief Minister Keshav Prasad Maurya, who planned to attend an event in the area.

A vehicle belonging to and allegedly being driven by Mishra mowed down protesting farmers, among others.

After he was arrested, the Uttar Pradesh Police’s special investigation team (SIT) filed a 5,000-page charge-sheet before a local court, naming Mishra prime accused in the case. In November that year, a trial court had rejected his application for bail, prompting Mishra to move the High Court.

The High Court had first granted bail to Mishra on February 10, 2022, stating that there might have been a possibility that the driver of the vehicle that mowed down the protesting farmers sped up the vehicle to save himself.

After the High Court granted bail to Mishra in the case, family members of the deceased had approached the Supreme Court in appeal, seeking cancellation of the bail. Oddly, the State of Uttar Pradesh did not file an appeal against the bail order.

In April 2022, the apex court had cancelled the bail granted to Mishra by the High Court and remanded the matter to the High Court for fresh consideration. On July 26 last year, the High Court denied Mishra bail, prompting the present appeal before the Supreme Court.

The top court had sought the response of the UP government in the matter in September last year. The bench in the previous hearing had asked how long the accused can be kept in jail.


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April 2024



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