SC calls for tentative timeline for the conclusion of the trial in Ashish Mishra Case

SC calls for tentative timeline for the conclusion of the trial in Ashish Mishra Case

While considering the bail application filed by Asish Mishra, the son of Union Minister Ajay Mishra, in the Lakhimpur Kheri case on Monday, the Supreme Court's division bench of Justices Surya Kant and Krishna Murari asked the trial court to indicate the time required to conclude the trial without jeopardising the schedule of other pending matters. The court directed the Registrar (Judicial) to enquire with the first Additional Sessions Judge at Lakhimpur Kheri about how long the trial in the normal case is likely to take without interfering with other pending or prioritised matters.

"The Registrar Judicial is directed to find out from the first Addl Sessions judge at Lakhimpur Kheri as to how much time the trial is likely to take without compromising with other pending or prioritised matters. A tentative schedule shall be submitted as to this case being tried on an out-of-turn basis," the Court directed.

The bench inquired whether Mishra could be held in custody indefinitely as an undertrial, noting that a balance must be struck between the rights of the victims and the accused. Despite Mishra's claim that he was not present at the crime scene, the state and the victims opposed his release on bailstruck between the rights of the victims and the accused. The victims urged the Court not to release Mishra, citing the seriousness of the crime and their concern for the witnesses' safety. The bench did note, however, that the witnesses had been granted protection under the Court's orders. The Court also ordered the State of Uttar Pradesh to provide an update on the status of the investigation into the case filed against farmers accused of lynching three other people, along with Mishra's car driver.

The bench asked the State how long the trial would last and ordered the Registrar Judicial to obtain this information from the trial court.
On October 3, last year, eight people were killed in Lakhimpur Kheri during a riot sparked by farmers protesting the now-revoked farm laws. Protesters had prevented Uttar Pradesh Deputy Chief Minister Keshav Prasad Maurya from attending an event in the area. Mishra's four-wheeler allegedly mowed down and killed eight people, along with the protesting farmers.

The Allahabad High Court granted bail to Mishra on February 10, but it was overturned in April 2022 by a Supreme Court bench comprised of then-CJI NV Ramana, Justice Surya Kant, and Justice Hima Kohli, who noted that the High Court considered irrelevant factors while ignoring relevant ones. The bail application was then remanded to the High Court. The order was issued in response to a petition filed by the relatives of the farmers killed in the crime.

Case Title: Ashish Mishra vs State of UP 
Citation: SLP (Crl) No. 7857/2022

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