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Lakhimpur Kheri : UP Govt Agrees To Appointment Of Retired Judge To Monitor Probe; Supreme Court Wants SIT Upgraded With IPS Officers

Srishti Ojha
15 Nov 2021 8:05 AM GMT
Lakhimpur Kheri : UP Govt Agrees To Appointment Of Retired Judge To Monitor Probe; Supreme Court Wants SIT Upgraded With IPS Officers
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The State of Uttar Pradesh informed the Supreme Court that it is agreeable to the appointment of a retired judge to monitor the investigation in the Lakhmipur Kheri violence of October 3, which claimed the lives of 8 persons, including 4 farmers, who were allegedly mowed down by vehicles in the convoy of Ashish Mishra, the son of Union Minister and BJP MP Ajay Kumar Mishra.Taking note of this,...

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The State of Uttar Pradesh informed the Supreme Court that it is agreeable to the appointment of a retired judge to monitor the investigation in the Lakhmipur Kheri violence of October 3, which claimed the lives of 8 persons, including 4 farmers, who were allegedly mowed down by vehicles in the convoy of Ashish Mishra, the son of Union Minister and BJP MP Ajay Kumar Mishra.

Taking note of this, a bench comprising the Chief Justice of India NV Ramana, Justice Surya Kant and Justice Hima Kohli listed the matter to Wednesday to decide the name of the judge.

The bench also observed that the Special Investigation Team constituted by the UP Police to investigate the case needs to be upgraded, as it consists mostly of officers in the grade of Sub Inspectors from the Lakhimpur Kheri region.

The bench asked Senior Advocate Harish Salve, who represented the State of UP, to circulate the names of IPS officers of UP cadre who do not hail from UP, for inclusion in the SIT.

Court room exchange

When the matter was taken, Senior Advocate Harish Salve submitted, "I have taken instructions, I will leave it to your lordships. whoever your lordships consider may be appointed".

"We need one more day time. we are considering Rakesh Jain or any other judge. We also need to talk to the judge concerned", CJI Ramana said.

Last occasion, the bench, after expressing lack of satisfaction with the progress of the investigation, had said that it was thinking of appointing a retired High Court judge from another state to monitor the investigation.

In this regard, Salve submitted that the Court may consider appointing any High Court judge, regardless of the state from which the judge is hailing from.

"If I make a suggestion, Your lordship is appointing an appropriate person. It is the person who matters. Your lordship may appoint a judge from any state", Salve submitted.

The bench said that it will take note of this. Then the CJI raised the issue of SIT.

"The other concern is you have to upgrade the task force, they have to be higher Officer", the CJI said.

"Most officers are in the grade of Sub Inspectors from the Lakhmipur Kheri region", Justice Surya Kant pointed out.

"Give name of Officers from IPS cadre from UP but don't belong from UP", Justice Kant added.

"Circulate the names by tomorrow evening so we can incorporate in our order on Wednesday", the CJI told Salve.

Salve agreed that he will do it. Senior Advocate Arun Bharadwaj, appearing for the widow of Shyam Sunder who got killed in the incident, requested that a retired judge of the Supreme Court be appointed.

"We'll look into it, we can consider it. Lets see which Judge will accept the assignment", the CJI said.

Background

The incident had claimed the lives of 8 people, four of them being farmers protesters who were allegedly mowed down by the vehicles in the convoy of Ashish Mishra, the son of Union Minister and BJP MP Ajay Kumar Mishra.

 On last occasion, November 8th, the Supreme Court had said that it was proposing to appoint a retired judge from a High Court of another state to monitor the investigation

Senior Advocate Harish Salve, appearing for the State of Uttar Pradesh, had sought for time to get instructions from the State Government on the suggestions made by the bench

The Bench had expressed dissatisfaction with the Uttar Pradesh Police probe. It was also dissatisfied with the fact that the forensic lab reports regarding the video evidence have not yet come and that the mobile phones of all accused have not been seized.

The bench had expressed concerns about the case against the prime accused in the case relating to attack on farmers being diluted by clubbing the investigation with the counter-case of mob lynching.

On an earlier occasion , October 26th, Supreme Court had directed the State of UP to ensure that the statements of relevant witnesses are recorded by the Judicial Magistrate under Section 164 of the Code of Criminal Procedure and witnesses are provided protection.

The Bench had also asked the investigation team to try to identify more eyewitnesses. The directions were issued after perusing the second status report filed by the State of UP regarding the the investigation.

On October 20, Supreme Court had observed that it was getting the impression that the UP Police was "dragging its feet" in its investigation. The bench had made this remark after noting that the statements of only 4 out of the 44 witnesses were recorded under Section 164 of the Code of Criminal Procedure.

"This should not become a never ending story", the CJI had commented.

The Supreme Court registered the PIL on the basis of a letter petition sent by two lawyers seeking proper investigation in the case. The Court's action followed the emergence of shocking videos in the social media showing vehicles in the convoy of Ashish Mishra driving into the protesting farmers.

On the first day of hearing, October 8, the Court had recorded its dissatisfaction with the UP Police probe, as the main accused Ashish Mishra was yet to be arrested then. The bench asked if it was normal for the police to await reply of the accused to a summons served on him in a murder case, instead of arresting him.

Background:

A bench headed by the Chief Justice of India NV Ramana, was hearing a PIL registered on the basis of a letter petition sent by two lawyers seeking impartial probe into the Lakhmipur Kheri violence of October 3.

The incident had claimed the lives of 8 people, four of them being farmers protesters who were allegedly mowed down by the vehicles in the convoy of Ashish Mishra, the son of Union Minister and BJP MP Ajay Kumar Mishra.

The Court's action followed the emergence of shocking videos in the social media showing vehicles in the convoy of Ashish Mishra driving into the protesting farmers.

Case : In Re Violence In Lakhimpur Kheri(UP) Leading To Loss Of Life| WP(Crl) No.426/2021

Click Here To Read /Download The Order


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