The Supreme Court on Thursday heard a suo moto case related to violence in which eight people were killed during farmers' protests at Lakhimpur Kheri on October 3 and sought a status report from the government of Uttar Pradesh related to arrests of the persons named in the FIR which was registered following the incident.
The Bench consisting of Chief Justice NV Ramana, Justice Surya Kant and Justice Hima Kohli clarified that it was hearing a Public Interest Litigation registered following a letter written by two lawyers from UP seeking independent investigation through Judicial Commission into the incident, that was wrongly titled as a suo moto petition by the registry.
The Supreme Court has asked the UP government to file a status report to explain who are the accused against whom the FIR has been registered and whether they have been arrested. While asking the government to provide details of the Judicial Commission constituted over the issue, the Bench directed it to immediately provide medical assistance to the lady who was reported to be critically ill after her son died in the incident.
The counsel appearing for Uttar Pradesh told the Bench that a Judicial Commission has been constituted to inquire into the incident and that the state would file a status report in the matter. The case was then posted for hearing on Friday.
Earlier in the day, the Apex Court had said that it would like to hear the two lawyers who had written the letter seeking a high-level judicial inquiry into the incident.
Four farmers were mowed down by an SUV in Lakhinpur Kheri when a group agitating against the Centre's three new farm laws was holding a demonstration against the visit of UP Deputy Chief Minister Keshav Prasad Maurya on October 3.
Two BJP workers and a driver were beaten to death allegedly by the angry protesters, while a local journalist was also killed in the violence. An FIR under section 302 of IPC (murder) has been registered against the Union Minister of State for Home Ajay Mishra's son Ashish Mishra and others in the incident in Tikonia police station but no arrest has been made so far.
Farmer leaders have claimed that Ashish was in one of the cars that allegedly knocked down the protesters but the minister has denied the allegation. Several farmer organisations are protesting against the passage of three laws -- The Farmers Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Act, 2020, The Essential Commodities (Amendment) Act, 2020 and Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement on Price Assurance and Farm Services Act, 2020 since last November.
The Apex Court had stayed the implementation of these laws in January. Initially, the protests started from Punjab in November last year and later spread to Delhi, Haryana, and Uttar Pradesh.
With PTI inputs