A sessions judge, who is conducting the trial in the Lakhimpur Kheri violence case in which Union minister Ajay Kumar Mishra's son is an accused, on Wednesday informed the Supreme Court that it might take around five years to conclude the trial in normal course.

In a letter sent to the Apex Court, the additional sessions judge said there are 208 prosecution witnesses, 171 documents and 27 forensic science laboratory (FSL) reports in the case.

"He (sessions judge) says in normal course, it may take five years," said a bench of Justice Surya Kant and Justice V Ramasubramanian.

The Apex Court had last month asked the sessions court how much time in normal course was it likely to take to conclude the trial, without compromising with the schedule of other pending or prioritised matters in that court.

The bench is hearing a plea filed by Ashish Mishra seeking bail in the case of the mowing down of protesting farmers in October 2021 in Lakhimpur Kheri.

During the hearing, the bench asked the counsel appearing for the Uttar Pradesh government to confirm whether the four accused in a separate case lodged over the killing of three occupants of the SUV, which allegedly mowed down farmers in the incident, are still in custody.

The bench posted the matter for further hearing on January 19.

On October 3, 2021, eight people were killed in Tikunia in Lakhimpur Kheri district during violence that erupted when farmers were protesting against the then Uttar Pradesh Deputy Chief Minister Keshav Prasad Maurya's visit to the area.

Four farmers were mowed down by an SUV, in which Ashish Mishra was seated, according to the Uttar Pradesh Police FIR.

Following the incident, the driver and two BJP workers were allegedly lynched by angry farmers. A journalist also died in the violence.

On December 6 last year, the trial court had framed charges against Ashish Mishra and 12 others for alleged offences of murder, criminal conspiracy, and others in the case of mowing down of protesting farmers in October 2021 in Lakhimpur Kheri, paving the way for the start of the trial.

A total of 13 accused, including Ashish Mishra, have been charged under IPC sections 147 and 148 related to rioting, 149 (unlawful assembly), 302 (murder), 307 (attempt to murder), 326 (voluntarily causing grievous hurt by dangerous weapons or means), 427 (mischief) and 120B (punishment for criminal conspiracy), and section 177 of the Motor Vehicle Act.

The other 12 accused are Ankit Das, Nandan Singh Bisht, Latif Kale, Satyam alias Satya Prakash Tripathi, Shekhar Bharti, Sumit Jaiswal, Ashish Pandey, Lavkush Rana, Shishu Pal, Ullas Kumar alias Mohit Trivedi, Rinku Rana, and Dharmendra Banjara.

All of them are in jail.

With PTI Inputs