NEW DELHI: Expressing dissatisfaction at the way the Lakhimpur Kheri violence in UP is being probed, the Supreme Court on Friday said the state government should show some seriousness in dealing with it.
“Your seriousness is only in words and not in your actions,” Chief Justice of India N V Ramana snapped at senior advocate Harish Salve, who appeared for the UP government.
“Is this the way you treat (murder) accused in other cases as well?” the CJI asked, when Salve said the UP Police have issued summons to accused Ashish Mishra, son of Union minister Ajay Mishra, to appear at 11 am on Saturday, since he failed to turn up for questioning on Friday.
When Salve said the summons was issued to the accused since the autopsy report did not find bullet wounds on the bodies of the eight victims, the court asked, “Is this a ground for not taking custody?”
Salve, however, conceded, “The manner in which this car was driven, it leaves no manner of doubt that the allegations (of farmers mowed down) are true. It is possibly a 302 (Section 302, which prescribes punishment for murder).”
The court shot back, “This is a responsible state government and police. When there is a serious allegation of death or gunshot injury, will the other accused in this country be treated the same way? Sending them notices, like asking to please come tell us?... See what is the message we are sending. In normal circumstances, if a 302 case is registered, what will the police do? Go and arrest the accused.” The bench was hearing a PIL registered on the basis of a letter sent by two lawyers.
The CJI also did not see merit in an SIT formed for the case, saying they are all local officers. He asked the state to direct the DGP to protect the evidence. The case will now be heard after the Dussehra vacations.
CJI’s cryptic comment on CBI probe
“We hope the state will take necessary steps. Because of the sensitivity of the issue, we are not making any comment. And CBI may not be a solution for reasons you better know... because of persons... Better some other mode you find out (for probe),” CJI Ramana told Harish Salve