Ex-Punjab and Haryana HC judge appointed to monitor Lakhimpur probe
The Supreme Court on Wednesday appointed Justice (retired) Rakesh Kumar Jain to oversee the ongoing probe into the Lakhimpur Kheri violence case. Jain is a former judge of the Punjab and Haryana High Court. Eight people had died last month in Uttar Pradesh's Lakhimpur Kheri during a protest by local farmers. Here are more details on this.
'Commission will ensure impartiality of probe'
"Justice Jain-manned commission will ensure impartiality and independence of the investigation," the SC said. "The investigation will be by SIT (Special Investigation Team) under Justice Jain and matter will be listed after chargesheet is filed."
Why does it matter?
- The Supreme Court's appointment is a significant step aimed at ensuring transparency and fairness in the case.
- Notably, the top court has time and again questioned the UP government and the state police's handling of the matter.
- On October 3, violence had broken out in Lakhimpur Kheri, claiming the lives of four farmers and four other people.
3 IPS officers included in SIT
The appointment comes two days after the UP government agreed to appoint a former HC judge to monitor the probe. Reportedly, three IPS officers have also been included in the SIT. They are IPS officers Shirodkar, Preetender Singh, and Uttar Pradesh IG Padmaja Chauhan. The SC will now hear the case after the chargesheet is filed and a report from Justice Jain is received.
What had happened in Lakhimpur Kheri?
On October 3, violence had broken out in Lakhimpur Kheri. A convoy of cars mowed down protesting farmers, killing four of them. In the ensuing unrest, four more people, including members of the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and a local reporter, were thrashed to death. Farmers allege that Union Minister Ajay Mishra's son Ashish Mishra was involved though they have denied the charge.
Minister's son denied bail by court
Ashish was arrested days after a case of murder was filed against him. At least 12 others have also been arrested in connection with the violence, including a local BJP leader who was seen at the scene of crime. On Monday, the Lakhimpur Kheri District and Sessions Court had rejected the bail pleas of Ashish and two others.
SC had recommended names of two judges to oversee probe
The Supreme Court had taken up the matter on the request of two lawyers from UP, days after the violence was reported. During a hearing on November 8, Chief Justice of India NV Ramana had proposed to appoint a retired High Court judge to oversee the probe. The court had then suggested the names of Justice (retired) Ranjit Singh and Justice Jain.