Lakhimpur Kheri case: SC notice to UP govt on bail plea by Ashish Mishra

The Supreme Court on Tuesday sought response from the Uttar Pradesh government on a bail plea by Ashish Mishra, the son of Union Minister Ajay Mishra Teni and prime accused in the Lakhimpur Kheri violence case of October last year.

Senior advocate Mukul Rohatgi and Ranjit Kumar represented Mishra, who had moved the apex court challenging the Allahabad High Court order denying him bail, before a bench comprising Justices Indira Banerjee and M.M. Sundresh.

Rohatgi submitted that there was an allegation against the petitioner that he was driving the car, but instead the car was driven by the driver. He added that the first informant eventually said he was not an eyewitness.

Counsel further submitted before the bench that his client’s bail was cancelled, as the high court did not hear the victims’ submissions.

On April 18, the Supreme Court had cancelled the bail granted to Mishra and directed him to surrender within a week.

A bench, headed by Chief Justice N.V. Ramana (retired now) and comprising Justices Surya Kant and Hima Kohli, asked the Allahabad High Court to examine afresh whether Mishra should be granted bail or not.

“Instead of looking into aspects such as the nature and gravity of the offence; severity of the punishment in the event of conviction; circumstances which are peculiar to the accused or victims; likelihood of the accused fleeing; likelihood of tampering with the evidence and witnesses and the impact that his release may have on the trial and the society at large; the High Court has adopted a myopic view of the evidence on the record and proceeded to decide the case on merits,” the top court had noted.

It had said that the high court had shown “tearing hurry” in passing the February 10 order, granting bail to Mishra, denying a fair and effective hearing to the victims.

Mishra was arrested on October 9 last year after eight people, including four farmers, were killed in Lakhimpur Kheri in clashes during a farmers’ protest on October 3.

The family members of the farmers, mowed down by a car belonging to Mishra, had moved the top court challenging bail granted to him.

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