According to the Supreme Court’s Sessions Judge, the trial for Lakhimpur Kheri murders is expected to take at least five more years.
Justice Surya Kant led a Bench that passed information to Mukul Rohatgi (senior advocate), who was appearing for Ashish Mishrira and advocate Prashant Bahushan.
Mishra, who is the son and grandson of a Union Minister, was accused of ordering his driver, Lakhimpur Kheri farmers, to be killed at a protest rally in Uttar Pradesh against controversial agricultural laws. He requested bail, claiming that he can’t be held in jail for the duration of the trial.
Mr. Bhushan represents families of victims who were run over by the SUV convoy. According to the senior lawyer, Mr. Mishra has used his power and influence to savagely attack witnesses and silence them. His release on bail would prevent the case from being tried fairly. The victims would not be able to get justice.
Although the Uttar Pradesh government denies the allegations, Mr. Bhushan stated that the State was working hand-in-glove alongside the Minister’s son. This allegation was supported by the fact Supreme Court had created its own Special Investigation Team in order to investigate the case.
The Bench had ordered the Sessions Judge to submit a report on December 12, 2022 giving an estimate of the time required to complete the trial.
“The Sessions Judge’s report states that it will take at minimum five years. Justice Kant testified in court that there were 200 witnesses, 171 documents and 27 forensic lab reports.
Both FIRs, which were separately filed in connection with the Lakhimpuri Kheri incident, would be tried together by the same court and the exact same presiding judge, according to the Bench.
Mr. Bhushan suggested that material witnesses be examined on an everyday basis because there was a clear, present danger against them.
However, the Bench noted that a day-today trial would incur costs for all other cases currently pending in that court.
“But this is an ongoing case… It concerns allegations against a Minister’s son that he ordered his driver over the farmers,” Mr. Bhushan said.
The hearing was moved to January 19. The court has requested the details of four defendants in FIR 220/2021. It concerns the alleged lynchings and robbery of two BJP workers.