The Supreme Court on Wednesday granted an eight-week interim bail to Ashish Mishra, son of Union minister Ajay Mishra Teni and key accused in the Lakhimpur Kheri violence case. In its order, the top court directed Ashish to stay away from Uttar Pradesh and the National Capital Territory of Delhi for the period of interim bail.
“We find ourselves in agreement with the apprehensions raised regarding fair trial and impartiality of the conduct of the law enforcement agency. We are therefore of the view that it will be imperative to balance the rights of the petitioner’s liberty emanating under Article 21 vis a vis the state’s right to ensure a fair and porter trial and safeguard the legitimate outcry of the victims of crime,” the SC bench observed while deciding on the plea challenging Allahabad High Court’s denial of bail to Mishra.
“In view of two diametrically opposite versions, both supported by the respective investigating reports, we are not inclined to express any final opinion as regards to the petitioner’s right to seek regular bail at this stage. Rather we undertake to keep these proceedings pending by issuing certain interim directions in furtherance of interest of justice and in a way on an experimental basis to adjudge whether there is any substance in the apprehension expressed on behalf of the state and the informant,” the top court said.
Ashish Mishra is an accused in a case related to the death of eight persons on October 3, 2021, after a convoy of vehicles ran over them in Lakhimpur Kheri in Uttar Pradesh. The deceased persons were protesting against the now-repealed farm laws. One of the vehicles part of the convoy belonged to Ajay Mishra, the father of Ashish.
Two BJP workers, a journalist and a driver of one of the vehicles were also killed in the violence that broke out in the aftermath of the incident. A bench of Justices Surya Kant and J K Maheshwari also granted interim bail to four accused farm law protesters in the other FIR pertaining to the death of the BJP workers and the driver.
The conditions imposed by the top court while granting him bail include directions to stay away from UP and the NCT of Delhi during the period, disclose the place of residence to the trial court as well as the jurisdictional police station where he would stay during the period of interim bail, mark his presence in the jurisdictional police station once a week and surrender his passport to the trial court.
The order further said that any attempt by the petitioner, his family or supporters to influence or threaten the witnesses directly or indirectly shall entail cancellation of the interim bail, adding that added that the prosecution, SIT, informant or any family members of victims of crime will be at liberty to promptly inform the court of any instance of misuse of the concessions of interim bail.