The Supreme Court today extended the interim bail granted to Union minister Ajay Kumar Mishra's son Ashish Mishra, facing prosecution in the 2021 Lakhimpur Kheri violence case.

Last year, in July, the Court had extended the interim bail till September 26, 2023.

A bench of Justice Surya Kant and Justice K.V. Viswanathan today in the order noted "It seems that no report has been received from the trial court after the previous order dated 26th September 2023. The Registry is directed to obtain a report and post the matter on a date...Interim directions to continue...".

AOR Ruchira Goel appeared for the respondents.

Senior Advocate Siddharth Dave appearing for Mishra at the outset said, "We have a stay in our favour, it is showing up on 27th, may I only pray for it to be continued...".

Justice Surya Kant then asked the Senior Advocate to move an mentioning application before the Court.

The bench in the September 26, 2023 order, while ordering that the interim protection will continue as granted, said, “Keeping in view the nature of ailment of the applicant’s/petitioner’s mother, we deem it appropriate to partly stay the condition “S.No. iii.” of the paragraph 17 of the order dated 25.01.2023 to the extent that the petitioner is permitted to visit and stay in NCT of Delhi to look after his ailing mother and/or to get his daughter operated in Delhi, subject to the conditions that: (a) Petitioner will not participate in any public function in Delhi; (b) Petitioner will not interact with media in relation to the subject-case or otherwise. The condition for not entering the State of Uttar Pradesh, however, shall continue to operate”.

The Supreme Court on April 24 had said that it may not be possible to direct the trial court to conduct day-to-day hearings in the case as it may affect other cases pending there. While hearing the matter on March 14, the apex court had said the trial in the case was not "slow paced" and directed the sessions judge concerned to keep apprising it about the future developments of the trial.

The Court had observed though it is not monitoring the trial, it is having an "indirect supervision" on it. It had said the interim direction contained in its January 25 order, by which it had granted eight-week interim bail to Ashish Mishra in the case, shall continue to operate.

The court had also directed Ashish Mishra to leave Uttar Pradesh within one week of his release from jail. On October 3, 2021, eight people were killed in Lakhimpur Kheri district's Tikunia after violence erupted when farmers were protesting against the then Deputy Chief Minister Keshav Prasad Maurya's visit to the area.

According to the Uttar Pradesh Police's FIR, four farmers were mowed down by an SUV in which Ashish Mishra was seated. Following the incident, the driver of the SUV and two BJP workers were allegedly lynched by angry farmers. A journalist also died in the violence.

In its January 25 order, the Apex Court had exercised its "suo-moto constitutional powers" and directed that four accused, Guruwinder Singh, Kamaljeet Singh, Gurpreet Singh and Vichitra Singh who were arrested in connection with a separate FIR lodged over the killing of three occupants of the SUV, which allegedly mowed down farmers there, be released on interim bail till further orders.

While granting eight-week interim bail to Ashish Mishra, the bench had said any attempt made by him, his family or supporters to influence or threaten the witnesses, directly or indirectly, shall entail cancellation of interim bail. It had also said Ashish Mishra should surrender his passport to the trial court within one week of his release on interim bail and not enter Uttar Pradesh except to attend the trial proceedings.

The Court had said Mishra shall disclose the place of his residence to the trial court as well as the jurisdictional police station where he would stay during the period of interim bail. "The trial court shall send progress reports to this court after every date of hearing, along with details of witnesses examined on each date", the Court had said.

Cause Title: Ashish Mishra alias Monu v. State of U.P.