The Supreme Court on Friday agreed to list on March 15 a plea filed by the family members of the farmers, mowed by a car belonging to Ashish Misra, in Lakhimpur Kheri challenging bail granted to him by the Allahabad High Court. Misra is the son of Union Minister and BJP MP Ajay Kumar Misra.
Advocate Prashant Bhushan, representing the family members, mentioned the plea before a bench headed by Chief Justice N.V. Ramana and comprising Justices A.S. Bopanna and Hima Kohli. Bhushan said the matter was supposed to be listed on Friday for hearing, but it was not on the list. The Chief Justice said: “listing it on Tuesday”. Bhushan, insisting on an urgent hearing on the plea, said: “there was an attack on a prime-witness in the case”.
On March 4, the Supreme Court agreed to hear on March 11 a plea filed by the family members of the farmers. Bhushan had submitted that other accused in the matter are also moving the high court seeking bail, citing the order granting bail to Misra.
He urged the top court to pass an order against the bail order of the high court. The Chief Justice said: “I can list on the 11th only…”
The plea contended that family members were forced to move the apex court since Uttar Pradesh has failed to file an appeal challenging bail granted to Misra. The plea argued that the high court granted bail without considering the heinous nature of the crime and also in the backdrop of overwhelming evidence against the accused in the charge sheet. The plea further argued that there is likelihood of the accused tampering with the witnesses and causing obstruction in justice.
In November last year, the Supreme Court appointed justice Rakesh Kumar Jain, a former judge of Punjab and Haryana High Court, to monitor the Lakhimpur Kheri violence probe. The top court also reconstituted the SIT investigating the incident and appointed IPS officer S.B. Shiradkar, as its head.
Misra was arrested on October 9 last year in the case. On October 3, 2021, eight people, including four farmers, were killed in Lakhimpur Kheri in clashes during a farmers’ protest.