Lakhimpur Kheri violence case | Trial case not ‘slow-paced’: Supreme Court

SC Bench says it is getting regular reports from the trial judge and will continue to ‘indirectly supervise’ the trial for now

Updated - March 14, 2023 08:18 pm IST

Published - March 14, 2023 03:02 pm IST - NEW DELHI

The incident, which killed eight people, including four farmers, occurred on October 3, 2021. File

The incident, which killed eight people, including four farmers, occurred on October 3, 2021. File | Photo Credit: PTI

The Supreme Court on March 14 remarked that the trial in the Lakhimpur Kheri killings case, in which Union Minister Ajay Kumar Mishra’s son Ashish Mishra is an accused, is not “slow-paced”.

A Bench led by Justice Surya Kant extended the eight-week interim bail granted to Mr. Mishra on January 25, while noting that it was getting regular reports from the trial judge. The court said it would continue to “indirectly supervise” the trial for now.

“We might withdraw when the proceedings tend to continue in a smooth and uninterrupted manner… Right now, we are having indirect supervision of the trial. It is required,” the Bench observed orally.

It listed the case for May 16.

On January 25, the court, while granting interim bail to Mr. Mishra, described the crime as “ghastly” and “unfortunate”.

Also read: Lakhimpur Kheri violence | Trial will take at least five years to complete, says sessions judge tells Supreme Court

The prosecution case is that an SUV allegedly belonging to Mr. Mishra’s convoy mowed down farmers protesting against the controversial agricultural laws during a rally in Lakhimpur Kheri district of Uttar Pradesh on October 3, 2021.

The court directed Mr. Mishra on January 25 to leave Uttar Pradesh within a week so that he posed no danger to witnesses waiting to testify against him in the main murder case. He was also banned from entering Uttar Pradesh or staying in Delhi.

The court said the interim bail and the conditions imposed on Mr. Mishra were to balance the right of the accused to liberty, the right of the State to conduct a fair trial and the right of the victims to get justice.

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