The Supreme Court today did not agree with the submission of Advocate Prashant Bhushan that the trial in the Lakhimpur Kheri violence case in which Union minister Ajay Kumar Mishra's son is an accused is going at a “slow pace”.

"We are receiving regular reports from the trial Judge. Trial is happening. Cross-examination is also ongoing," orally remarked the Bench comprising Justice Surya Kant and Justice JK Maheshwari.

"I am appearing regularly," said Senior Advocate Mukul Rohtagi, who represented Ashish Mishra, who is the main accused in the case regarding the mowing down of four farmers by an SUV, in which he was seated, according to the Uttar Pradesh Police's FIR.

"I am concerned regarding the slow pace of the trial," said Advocate Prashant Bhushan, who appeared on caveat for complainant-victims of the Lakhimpur Kheri violence.

The Court further observed that the trial court is going on the "right path" and it does not intend to "monitor" the trial but will do an "indirect supervision".

The Court directed that interim protection extended to Mishra shall continue to operate till further orders. Also, the Court said that on the next date of hearing, the Sessions Court will apprise it regarding the progress of the trial.

On January 15, the Supreme Court granted interim bail to Ashish Mishra, imposing, inter-alia, a condition that Mishra shall not stay in the State of Uttar Pradesh or the NCT of Delhi during the period of interim bail.

The Court had observed that "it is imperative to balance the rights of the petitioner's liberty emanated under Article 21 vis-a-vis the state's right to ensure fair and proper trial".

The Apex Court had also directed the Trial Court to send a progress report to the Supreme Court after every date of hearing along with details of witnesses examined on each date.

On October 3, 2021, eight people were killed in Tikunia in the 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.

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.

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

Cause Title- Ashish Mishra Alias Monu v. State of UP