Lakhimpuri Kheri Case: Supreme Court Suo Motu Grants Interim Bail To 4 Accused In Cross-FIR While Granting Interim Bail To Ashish Mishra

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Ashish Mishra
Ashish Mishra, accused in the Lakhimpur Kheri violence - For Spectrum - Published in The Tribune on 10.10.2021

The Supreme Court in the case Ashish Mishra Alias Monu v. State of U.P. observed while granting interim bail to Ashish Mishra son of Union Minister Ajay Mishra, in the Lakhimpur Kheri violence case, the Supreme Court suo motu granted interim bail to four persons who are being accused in the cross-case related to the lynching of three persons, the case relates to the killings of five persons in October 2021, when the vehicles of his convoy allegedly ran over a group of farmers who were being protesting against the farm laws. It has been directed by the Court to Mishra for leaving the State of Uttar Pradesh within one week of availing interim bail and directed him not to stay either in the State of UP or the NCT of Delhi during the period of interim bail is availed. Before the trail Court, he has to surrender his passport and can enter the State of UP only to attend the trial court proceedings. Thus, any attempt being made by Mishra and his family members or supporters to influence or intimidate directly or indirectly witness will lead to cancellation of bail. He needs to regualary attend the trial court proceedings and cannot seek the adjournment. If it is being found that Mishra is trying to delay the trial it will be a valid ground to cancel his bail. The bench observed and has granted interim bail to four persons who are accused in the counter-case (registered against the farmers), wherein invoking the powers of suo-motu and the court has directed to be released on interim bail until further orders, subject to furnishing the bail bonds to the trial court. The bench comprising of Justice Surya Kant and Justice JK Maheshwari observed and has decided to keep the regular bail application filed by Mishra pending, and an interim bail has been granted to adjudge the impact of his release on trial. The plea is to be listed on March 14 for directions after the trial court sends a report on the status of the witnesses being examined. The bench while taking note of the concerns raised about the free and fair trial noted that a balancing approach was necessary to balance the right to personal liberty and ensure the fair trail. In its order, the bench reserved in the case on January 19, after hearing Senior Advocate Mukul Rohatgi for Mishra, Additional Advocate General of UP Garima Prashad and Senior Advocate Dushyant Dave appearing for the relatives of the victims of the crime. Therefore, Senior Advocate Mukul Rohatgi for Mishra appearing for Mishra argued while raising a plea of alibi that there are mobile tower location records which show that Mishra was elsewhere when the crime took place. It has been contended by the Senior Lawyer while terminating the incident a “fracas” that the deaths took place when the driver lost control of the vehicle after the farmers attacked it. The bail application was opposed by the State of UP by stating that the crime was “grave and heinous”. On February 10, the Allahabad High Court had granted bail to Mishra but the same was set aside by the Supreme Court comprising the then CJI NV Ramana, Justice Surya Kant and Justice Hima Kohli in April 2022 after the court noted that the High Court took into account irrelevant considerations and ignored relevant factors. Thus, the bail application was then remanded to the High Court and the order of the Supreme Court came in an appeal filed by the relatives of the farmers who got killed in the crime. Accordingly, the bail application was dismissed by the High Court on July 26 after re-hearing the matter, wherein following the remand by the Supreme Court.