According to the Supreme Court, the trial in Lakhimpur Kheri’s killings will take at most five years.
On January 11, Justice Surya Kant’s Bench passed the information on to Mukul Rohatgi, senior advocate, who appeared for Ashish Mishra and advocate Prashant Bhhushan.
Mishra is the son of a Union minister and is accused of ordering his driver at Lakhimpur Kheri, Uttar Pradesh, to kill farmers who were participating in a protest against the new agricultural laws of October 2021. He applied for bail and said he could not be held in custody during the entire trial.
Mr. Bhushan represents victims’ families. Senior lawyer Bhushan argued that Mr. Mishra had so far used his influence and power to attack witnesses to silence them. His bail release would mean that the case would not be given fair trials. The victims would not receive justice.
The Uttar Pradesh government denied the accusations, but Mr. Bhushan claimed that the State was in-glove with the Minister’s son. This allegation is supported by the fact the Supreme Court has formed its own Special Investigation Team to investigate the case.
The Bench directed the Sessions Judge, on December 12, 2022, to file a report detailing the approximate duration of the trial.
According to the Sessions Judge’s report, it will take at most five years. Justice Kant stated in court that there are 200 witnesses and 171 documents. 27 forensic science laboratory reports were also included.
According to the Bench, both FIRs in Lakhimpuri Kheri would be tried by one court with the same presiding Judge.
According to Mr. Bhushan, there was a clear danger against material witnesses and it was suggested that they be examined on a daily basis.
The Bench however pointed out that a daily trial would be at the expense of all other cases that are pending in the trial court.
Mr. Bhushan stated that “But this case needs day-today trial… It concerns allegations that a Minister’s child ordered his driver to drive over farmers.”
The hearing was rescheduled for January 19. The court requested information from four of the accused in FIR 2220/2021. This concerns the alleged lynchings of two BJP workers as well as the driver of the SUV.