Lakhimpur Kheri case: SC directs Ashish Mishra not to stay in UP, Delhi during period of interim bail
Granting an interim bail of eight weeks to Lakhimpur Kheri violence-accused Ashish Mishra, the Supreme Court on Wednesday directed him not to stay either in UP or Delhi during this period.
Granting an interim bail of eight weeks to Lakhimpur Kheri violence-accused Ashish Mishra, the Supreme Court on Wednesday directed him not to stay either in UP or Delhi during this period. The court also directed him to leave Uttar Pradesh within a week from the date of his release on interim bail.
A bench of Justices Surya Kant and JK Maheshwari granted interim bail to Mishra, son of Union Minister Ajay Mishra, initially for a period of eight weeks subject to his furnishing bail bonds to the satisfaction of the trial court. "With a view to ward off any direct or indirect influence on the material witnesses who are yet to depose, the Petitioner (Ashish Mishra) is directed to leave the State of Uttar Pradesh within one week from the date of his release on interim bail," the court said.
"The petitioner (Ashish Mishra) shall not stay in the State of Uttar Pradesh or in NCT of Delhi during the period of interim bail. The Petitioner shall disclose the place of his residence to the Trial Court as well as the jurisdictional police station where he would stay during the period of interim bail, within one week of his release," the court added. The court further directed Mishra to mark his presence at the jurisdiction police station once a week and surrender his passport at the trial court within one week of his release.
The court also directed Mishra not to enter UP, except to attend trial proceedings. The Supreme Court also clarified that any attempt by Mishra or his family to influence witnesses and delay the trial may lead to the cancellation of his bail.
"The prosecution, SIT, Informant or any family member of the victims of the crime will be at liberty to promptly inform this Court of any incident of misuse of the concession of the interim bail. The Petitioner shall appear before the Trial Court on every date of hearing and no adjournment shall be sought on his behalf," the court said. The top court also exercised suo motu constitutional powers in granting interim bail to four other undertrial accused arrested in connection with other FIRs filed in the same incident.
The court noted that there are two separate FIRs with different narratives but the place of occurrence and substratum of the incident are the same. "As noticed earlier, there are two separate FIRs with different narratives but the place of occurrence and substratum of the incident are the same. The question as to who were the aggressors or responsible for the unfortunate ghastly incident would be ascertained only after a full-fledged trial. As a necessary corollary we, in the exercise of our suomoto constitutional powers, extend the benefit of interim liberty to the undertrial accused involved in the other version also, namely, FIR No. 220 of 2021," the court said.
The apex court further observed that it finds itself in agreement with the apprehensions raised regarding a fair trial and the doubts surrounding the impartiality of the conduct of the law enforcement agencies. "We are, therefore, of the view that it is imperative to balance the rights of Petitioner's liberty emanating under Article 21 visavis the State's right to ensure a fair and proper trial and safeguard the legitimate outcry of the victim(s) of crime," the court noted.
"We are conscious of the grave allegations levelled against the Petitioner (Ashish Mishra) but we must also acknowledge that principles of procedural fairness require these allegations to be proven in trial proceedings," the court stated further. The court noted that in the present case, charges have been framed and the petitioner, Ashish Mishra, is in custody for more than a year.
In view of the large volume of oral and documentary evidence, which the prosecution is entitled to lead in both cases, coupled with the defence evidence, if any, the trial cannot be expected to be concluded that early, the court noted. Ashish Mishra moved Supreme Court challenging the Allahabad High Court order, denying him bail on July 26, 2022, in connection with the Lakhimpur Kheri violence case. The bail was rejected by the Lucknow bench of Allahabad High Court.
Mishra was booked for the incident on October 3, 2021, in which eight people, including four farmers, were killed in Uttar Pradesh's Lakhimpur Kheri after he allegedly ran them over during a protest against the Centre's three farm laws, which now stand withdrawn. He was arrested on October 9 and was granted bail by Allahabad High Court in February 2022.
However, Mishra again moved the HC, after the Supreme Court set aside its February 2022 order saying that the high court took irrelevant considerations into account while ignoring relevant facts. The top court had said that the Allahabad HC order, granting bail to Mishra, couldn't be sustained and had to be set aside, as it cancelled the bail bonds of the accused. The apex court had directed Ashish Mishra to surrender within a week.
The family members of the victims of the Lakhimpur Kheri incident had moved the Supreme Court, challenging the bail order of the Allahabad HC. Earlier, the Supreme Court had appointed a committee headed by retired Punjab and Haryana high court judge Rakesh Kumar Jain to monitor the probe into the Lakhimpur Kheri incident. (ANI)
(This story has not been edited by Devdiscourse staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)
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