Lakhimpur Kheri Case: What The Allahabad High Court Said While Granting Bail To Ashish Mishra

by Swarajya Staff - Feb 11, 2022 04:32 PM +05:30 IST
Lakhimpur Kheri Case: What The Allahabad High Court Said While Granting Bail To Ashish MishraAshish Misra granted bail.
Snapshot
  • Here's what the Allahabad High Court said while granting bail to Ashish Misra in the Lakhimpur Kheri violence case.

Allahabad High Court yesterday (10 February) granted bail to Ashish Mishra in the Lakhimpur Kheri violence case. Mishra, arrested on 9 October last year, is the son of the current Minister of State in Ministry of Home affairs Ajay Mishra Teni. Teni is a Lok Sabha MP from Lakhimpur constituency.

The incident pertains to farmers' protest ahead of a visit to Lakhimpur by Uttar Pradesh Deputy Chief Minister Keshav Prasad Maurya on 3 October last year. The protesters had blocked the Tikunia-Banbirpur road via Maurya was to travel to reach a school in Tikunia where he was slated to inaugurate many development projects for the district.

Eight deaths were confirmed including four protesters, and four from the minister's convoy, including journalist Ratan Kashyap, who were allegedly dragged out of the car and lynched by the protesters. The latter allege that the car from the minister's convoy tried to run them over.

While granting bail to Ashish Mishra in the Lakhimpur Kheri violence case, the Allahabad HC said that it couldn't discount the possibility that the driver of the vehicle, in the face of mob attack, was forced to speed up the vehicle to save himself which resulted in protesters' death, reports Bar and Bench.

Following reasons were given by the court for granting the bail:

  • No firearm injury has been found on the body of the deceased or any other person, except the injury of the hitting from the vehicle.

  • The court cannot shut its eyes to the killing of three persons sitting in the vehicle, including the driver, who were killed by the protesters.

  • The prosecution alleged that Mishra provoked the driver of the vehicle to crush the protesters. However, the driver along with two others who were in the vehicle, had been killed by the protesters.

  • During the course of investigation, a notice was issued to Mishra and he appeared before the investigating officer.

  • The charge sheet has already been filed in the case.

Justice Rajeev Singh said in the order:

"Indubitably, no firearm injury has been found on the body of the deceased or any other person, except the injury of the hitting from the vehicle. Furthermore, in case, the story of the prosecution is accepted, thousands of protesters gathered at the place of incident and there might be a possibility that the driver tried to speed up the vehicle to save himself, on account of which, the incident had taken place."

Notably, the court also said that it "cannot shut its eyes to the killing of three persons sitting in the Thar vehicle" owned by Mishra. The court also noted that the FIR wrongly attributed the role of firing at the protesters to Mishra, since no bullet wounds were found on their bodies.

The counsel for Mishra Senior Advocate Gopal Chaturvedi argued in the court that his client had been falsely implicated in the present case. He told the court that to protest against the remarks made by Teni against farmers, a huge crowd had gathered at a wrestling competition and public meeting that was to be attended by chief guest Keshav Prasad Maurya. Without permission, a number of protesters armed with lathis and swords gathered there along with notorious persons and encroached the entire area.

However, despite the bail order issued by the High Court, reportedly, Ashish Misra cannot walk out of jail just yet, since the bail order makes no mention of sections 302 (murder) and 120B (criminal conspiracy) which are included in the charge sheet filed by the Lakhimpur Police.

Ashish Misra has been accused under sections 147, 148, 149, 302, 307, 326, 34, 427 and 120B of the Indian Penal Code. Additionally, he has been charged under relevant sections of the Arms Act. Misra will now appeal to the high court to add the two remaining sections to the bail order.

Close to the end of the hearing, the court focussed over the failure of the district administration in handling the situation.

It noted that despite imposition of Section 144 CrPC, without due permission under law, 17,000 persons from different districts and other states gathered at one place. "[It] was very well within the knowledge of the District Administration, as is evident from the statement of its officials, but neither any preventive action was taken nor any action against the organisers had been taken," the court said.

The court ordered the chief secretary of Uttar Pradesh to issue necessary directions and guidelines for regulating assemblies and processions in order to avoid inconvenience caused to the citizens.

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