Mishra, son of Union minister of state for home Ajay Mishra, was leading a convoy of BJP workers when he mowed down farmers protesting the farm laws at Lakhimpur Kheri. Four people died in the incident. Some BJP party workers also died in the retaliatory violence.
On Wednesday, a three-judge bench headed by Chief Justice of India NV Ramana drew the state government’s attention to two letters written by the SIT to the additional chief secretary, home, recommending that the state government seek cancellation of Mishra junior’s bail.
The bench was dealing with a plea seeking cancellation of the bail granted to Ashish Mishra by the Allahabad High Court. The bench said that this was also the recommendation in the report of the monitoring judge. The two letters were dated February 10 and February 14, Justice Surya Kant pointed out.
The state government claimed that it had no idea about the SIT recommendation and was unaware of the reports. Senior advocate Mahesh Jethmalani said that the additional CS had not received any such recommendation from the judge. He instead sought reports from the top court and sought time to respond to it.
The SIT was set up by the state government in the wake of public pressure to act against Ashish Mishra. It was later strengthened by the top court which placed a retired High Court judge at its helm to insulate it from political pressures.
Senior advocate Dushyant Dave, who appeared for the families of some of those killed in the incident, said that he had no quibbles with the state as its affidavit had shown that it had adopted the SIT’s arguments to oppose bail.
He, however, urged the top court to either set aside the HC order or cancel the bail. “The High Court shows complete non-application of mind,” he said. Dave also objected to the accused filing a statement in the top court stating that he was never at the spot at all. “He is trying to create an alibi,” Dave said. The state government has said that this was “doctored”, he said, urging the court to act on this “perjury”.
Misra’s lawyer Ranjit Kumar vehemently opposed this statement.
The bench eventually directed that the two reports shared with the state government for its response. The bench posted the case for further hearing on Monday. Chief Justice Ramana conceded that the delay in hearing the plea was partly the court’s fault but eventually adjourned the case till Monday at UP’s request.