- The case has been scheduled for the next hearing on October 26 by the Supreme Court.
- So far, Ashish Mishra and nine other people have been detained in connection with the case.
- The UP government is represented by senior lawyer Harish Salve.
The Supreme Court of India criticized the Uttar Pradesh government on Wednesday for failing to record witness testimony before a judicial magistrate in the Lakhimpur Kheri violence case, in which eight people were killed. The UP government was also directed by the Supreme Court to overcome the impression that the state is dragging its feet on the case.
“We believe you’re dragging your feet. Could you please dispel this? “A bench of Chief Justice NV Ramana, Justice Surya Kant, and Justice Hima Kohli informed the Uttar Pradesh government’s counsel.
On October 3, eight people were killed at a farmers’ protest in UP’s Lakhimpur Kheri, including four farmers.
When senior lawyer Harish Salve, representing the UP government, submitted that a report on the matter had been filed under a sealed cover, the bench responded: “No, it was not needed, and we only received it now…we waited till 1 a.m. last night for any filing. But, we received nothing..”
The state government informed the Supreme Court that four of the 44 witnesses in the case had their testimonies recorded under Section 164 (before a judicial magistrate).
Salve stated that two crimes occurred: one involving a car being driven into farmers and the other involving lynching.
“Why haven’t other witnesses recorded their statements?” the bench inquired.
In response, Salve stated that the procedure was ongoing and that four of the ten suspects were in police custody.
The bench then inquired about the other six accused. “You did not seek custody so they were sent to judicial custody. What is the situation in this case?”
The remaining witnesses’ testimony, according to Salve, were being recorded, but the courts were closed. The bench said, “Criminal courts closed for Dussehra vacation?”
“This should not be an unending story,” the CJI added, “this is all we want.”
Salve then requested more time. Following the completion of the proceedings, the Supreme Court scheduled the next hearing for October 26.
So far, Ashish Mishra, son of Union Minister of State for Home Ajay Mishra, and nine others have been detained in connection with the case.
It should be mentioned that the Supreme Court is considering the case after two lawyers, Shiv Kumar Tripathi and CS Panda, wrote a petition to the CJI requesting a high-level judicial investigation into the matter.
On October 3, four farmers were killed by an SUV in Uttar Pradesh’s Lakhimpur Kheri while protesting the visit of Keshav Prasad Maurya, Uttar Pradesh Deputy Chief Minister.
Following that, an agitated mob allegedly killed two BJP workers and a driver. In the following conflict, a local journalist was also killed.
Since November 2020, a number of farmer organisations have protested the passing of three agriculture laws: the Essential Commodities (Amendment) Act, 2020, the Farmers Produce Trade and Commerce (Facilitation and Promotion) Act, 2020, and the Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement on Price Assurance and Farm Services Act, 2020.
The Supreme Court delayed the enforcement of these laws in January. Protests erupted in Punjab in November 2020 and quickly extended to Haryana, Delhi, and Uttar Pradesh.