Lakhimpur Case In Supreme Court: Highlights
Lakhimpur case, in which eight people have died, has reached the Supreme Court. Here are some of the highlights.
The Supreme Court said today (8 October) that it was not satisfied with the steps taken by the Uttar Pradesh government with regards to Lakhimpur Kheri episode, according to this report.
The bench headed by Chief Justice of India N V Ramana and comprising justices Surya Kant and Hima Kohli had listed the matter for hearing today. The next hearing in the matter will be held on 20 October, after the Dussehra vacation of the court.
Today, the Supreme Court also asked the UP government to instruct its DGP (Director General of Police) to ensure that 'the evidence in the case is protected till the time another agency takes it over'. Appearing for the UP government, senior advocate Harish Salve assured that steps will be taken by the next date of hearing to satisfy the court and alternatives will be considered to have an investigation by other agencies.
Hearing the same case yesterday, the SC had sought a status report from the UP government regarding the probe into the “unfortunate” incident that happened in Lakhimpur Kheri on 3 October, in which eight people, including four farmers, a journalist, and three others had died.
The court said that the status report should contain the details of the accused and mention whether any of them have been arrested yet. The bench also directed the UP government to ensure medical assistance to the mother of the deceased Lovepreet Singh, who is said to be unwell and in shock due to her son’s untimely death.
Supreme Court’s Suo Motu Cognisance Or A PIL?
In the wake of the violence, two lawyers from UP had written a letter to CJI Ramana seeking a probe by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI). Following this, the court, on Wednesday (6 October), registered their PIL regarding the Lakhimpur violence.
As the hearing of the case began, the Chief Justice said that two lawyers had written a letter to him urging the court to take suo motu cognisance of the issue. The CJI informed that the registry was directed to register it as a PIL, but the case was somehow registered as ‘suo motu’. “I think there is a communication problem,'' the CJI said.
The Courtroom Exchange
The arguing counsel Shiv Kumar Tripathi alleged that gross human rights violations are happening “in this country and UP” and alleged that the state had not taken any steps to enforce the democratic rights of its citizens.
“I hope the court will consider it very seriously. Number of farmers have died due to negligence of the administration… Please take appropriate action regarding this issue,” Tripathi told the bench.
When asked about the reason behind the letter petition, Tripathi said “I did it so that the court directs the respondents to register the FIR against those involved in this matter.” He added that the “farmers are suffering and (were) also afraid of the government”.
However, the CJI noted that the police had already registered an FIR.
Senior advocate Garima Prasad, appearing on behalf of the UP government, said in the court that the incident is “unfortunate” and “we also feel the same way”. Prasad informed that a Special Investigation Team (SIT) has already been formed, and an FIR has been registered.
Following Prasad’s submission, the CJI asked “The grievance is that you are not properly investigating and registering the FIR. What can you say about that?”
Addressing the CJI's query, Prasad said that the government has also constituted a commission of inquiry under a retired judge of the Allahabad High Court to assuage the concerns of the aggrieved parties. “The state can file a detailed report of the probe on Friday,” she added.
The CJI had also asked about what had happened to the PIL filed before the Allahabad High Court regarding the incident.
The letter petition filed before the Allahabad HC is seeking a CBI inquiry into the incident, arguing that due to this horrific incident, the law and order situation of the state of Uttar Pradesh is in grave danger and if immediate preventive action is not taken by the state, serious lapses could occur.
Charges In The FIR Filed
In connection with the Lakhimpur violence, an FIR has already been registered against Ashish Mishra ‘Monu’, son of Union Minister of State for Home and BJP MP Ajay Kumar Mishra 'Teni'. A total of eight people died, out of which four were allegedly crushed by a vehicle driven by Ashish Mishra.
The FIR registered on Ashish and others in Tikunia Police Station includes charges under Indian Penal Code (IPC) Section 302 for murder, 304-A for negligent driving, 120-B for criminal conspiracy and 147 for rioting, 279 for rash driving, 338 for causing grievous hurt, endangering human life by doing any act in a rash or negligent manner, along with other penal provisions.
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