The Supreme Court on Friday agreed to hear on March 11 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 other accused in the matter are also moving the high court seeking bail, citing the order granting bail to Misra.
The Chief Justice said: “I can list on the 11th only….” Bhushan urged the top court to pass an order against the bail order of the high court. The bench said the court will take up the matter on March 11.
The plea contended that the 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.
Another plea has been filed by advocates C.S. Panda and Shiv Kumar Tripathi, challenging the bail granted to Misra.
Misra was released from jail after he was granted bail by the Lucknow bench of the Allahabad High Court. His lawyers submitted two bail bonds of Rs 3 lakh each in regards to his bail orders.
The plea filed by advocates said: “The net effect of the getting a bail to the accused Ashish Misra @ Monu and non-interrogation of the Union Minister of State (Home) Ajay Misra by the retd. Justice Rakesh Jain… results in greater prejudice affecting the morale of the law-abiding peaceful protesters hailing from Lakhimpur local area and other parts of UP.”
Misra was arrested on October 9 last year in the case.
On October 3, 2021, eight people, including four farmers, were killed in Lakhimpurn Kheri in clashes during a farmers’ protest.