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Legal

Updated on: Monday, November 08, 2021, 11:21 PM IST

FPJ Legal: Don’t want UP judicial commission to continue probe in Lakhimpur Kheri violence, says Supreme Court

A vehicle set ablaze after violence broke out after farmers agitating were allegedly run over by a vehicle in the convoy of a union minister, in Lakhimpur Kheri on Sunday. | ANI

A vehicle set ablaze after violence broke out after farmers agitating were allegedly run over by a vehicle in the convoy of a union minister, in Lakhimpur Kheri on Sunday. | ANI

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New Delhi: The Supreme Court Monday said it has no confidence and does not want the one- member judicial commission appointed by the Uttar Pradesh government to continue probe into the Lakhimpur Kheri violence in which eight people including four farmers were killed on October 3.

Retired Allahabad High Court judge Justice Pradeep Kumar Srivastava was named by the state government earlier to enquire into the eruption of violence on Tikonia-Banbirpur road in Lakhimpur Kheri district.

A bench headed by Chief Justice of India NV Ramana, in a hearing conducted through video conferencing, suggested to the state government that the monitoring of the ongoing probe be done by a former judge of a “different high court” to infuse “independence, impartiality and fairness”.

“We, somehow or the other, are not confident and we do want any judicial commission appointed by your state government to continue,” said the bench, also comprising Justices Surya Kant and Hima Kohli.

The bench referred to two FIRs, one pertaining to mowing down of the farmers and the other related to subsequent lynching of BJP activists by the mob, and said that prima facie it appeared that evidence was being procured to the protect the accused in the first case.

“One more thing we have in mind to ensure that the evidence in FIR no. 219 (farmers' mowing case) is recorded independently and in FIR no. 220 (lynching case) be also recorded independently and there is no overlapping or inter-mixing the two sets of evidence. We are inclined to appoint a former judge of a different high court to monitor the investigation on a day-to-day basis and then see how the separate charge sheets are eventually prepared,” said the bench.

Speaking for the bench, Justice Surya Kant suggested the names of Justices Ranjit Singh and Justice Rakesh Kumar Jain, both former judges of the Punjab and Haryana High Court, and said that they are experienced in the field of criminal law and will oversee the probe of the SIT till filing of the charge sheets in the cases.

The state government has to respond by Friday. The police have so far arrested 13 accused, including Union Minister of State for Home Ajay Mishra's son Ashish Mishra, in connection with the case. The apex court was hearing a matter about the October 3 violence in Lakhimpur Kheri in which eight persons including four farmers were killed during a farmers' protest.

Four farmers were mowed down by an SUV in the convoy at Lakhimpur Kheri when a group agitating against the Centre's three new farm laws was holding a demonstration against the visit of Uttar Pradesh Deputy Chief Minister Keshav Prasad Maurya on October 3.

Two BJP workers and a driver were beaten to death allegedly by the angry protesters, and a local journalist was killed in the violence.

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Published on: Monday, November 08, 2021, 11:21 PM IST
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