The Uttar Pradesh government on Monday agreed to the Supreme Court’s suggestion to appoint a former High Court judge from outside the state to oversee the investigation into the Lakhimpur violence, reported Live Law.
In the last hearing, the Supreme Court had directed the state to appoint a former High Court judge and suggested the names of Justices Rakesh Kumar Jain and Ranjit Singh.
“Somehow, we are not confident of state judicial committee overseeing,” Justice Surya Kant had said on the November 8 hearing. Kant suggested that the High Court judge could independently monitor the investigation till chargesheets were filed.
During Monday’s hearing, the Supreme Court took note of the Uttar Pradesh government’s submission and listed the matter for hearing on Wednesday to finalise on the name of the judge.
“We need one more day time,” Chief Justice of India NV Ramana said. “We are considering Rakesh Jain or any other judge. We also need to talk to the judge concerned.”
Meanwhile, senior advocate Arun Bharadwaj, appearing for the widow of one of the persons killed in the violence, requested the bench to appoint a retired judge of the Supreme Court.
“We’ll look into it, we can consider it,” Ramana said. “Lets see which judge will accept the assignment.”
The bench, also comprising Justices Kant and Hima Kohli, observed that the Special Investigation Team formed by the police to inquire the case needs to be upgraded. It noted that the presently the team consists mostly of officers in the rank of sub inspectors from the Lakhimpur Kheri region.
The court asked senior advocate Harish Salve, appearing for the Uttar Pradesh government, to circulate the names of Indian Police Service officers of the Uttar Pradesh cadre, who do not hail from the state and can be included in the investigation team.
The court said that it will also incorporate the names of the officers in its Wednesday order. Salve accepted the Supreme Court’s direction.
The case is related to the violence that broke out in Lakhimpur Kheri district on October 3 during a protest against the Centre’s three new farm laws. Eight people, including four farmers, were killed in the incident.
Farmer bodies have alleged that a vehicle belonging to Ashish Mishra, the son of Union minister Ajay Mishra, had run over protestors. Ashish Mishra was arrested on October 9, a day after the Supreme Court had pulled up the Uttar Pradesh government on the matter.
The four others killed in the violence were BJP workers Shubham Mishra and Shyam Sunder Nishad, Hari Om Mishra, the driver of a car in Ajay Mishra’s convoy, and journalist Raman Kashyap.