[Lakhimpur Kheri Violence] Arguments on key accused Ashish Mishra's bail plea set to be heard on January 18: Allahabad High Court

  • Salil Tiwari
  • 02:50 PM, 13 Jan 2022

The arguments on the bail petition of Ashish Mishra, the primary accused in the Lakhimpur Kheri violence, are set to be heard on January 18, 2022, before the Lucknow Bench of Allahabad High Court. Mishra is the son of Union Minister Ajay Mishra Teni.

It is expected that on behalf of Mishra, Sr. Adv. Gopal Chaturvedi will argue the matter. This was informed to the Court on January 11, 2022, when the case was listed before the bench of Justice Rajeev Singh. The Court, in its order, also noted that the affidavits and counters have been exchanged between the parties and now final arguments will commence. 

In his bail plea (which was filed before UP Police's chargesheet submission in the Local court on January 3), Mishra had pleaded for his release arguing that he was only charged with Sections 279, 338 and 304-A of Indian Penal Code (IPC), which all are bailable offences dealing with negligent driving. 

However, in a letter to the Chief Judicial Magistrate (Kheri) in December , 2021, the Chief Investigator of the Special Investigation Team had sought permission to invoke Sections 307 (attempt to murder), 326 (causing hurt with dangerous weapon), 34 (acts done by several persons in furtherance of common intention) of IPC, and 3/25 Arms Act against all accused persons including Mishra.

In his petition, Mishra has pleaded for his release on bail arguing that firstly he was not in the vehicle (Thar car) for which it has been alleged that it moved down protesting farmers, rather he was attending a Dangal function in village Banveerpur, which is 4 kilometers away from the place of the incident.

He has also alleged that his presence at Banveerpur is duly supported by the electronic record and the photographs of the entire gathering which was being personally managed by Mishra. 

Secondly, Mishra has argued that even if the prosecution's story is considered, for the sake of arguments, the right of private defence as contemplated under Sections 97/103 of IPC will still be available to all the accused. 

Mishra's plea states that the convoy of the accused side (including 'Thar') was going to receive the Chief Minister, who was scheduled to arrive for some function, in a peaceful manner when an unlawful assembly formed by alleged protesting farmers attacked the vehicles and ultimately set it on fire.

It adds that this final attack happened despite the fact that earlier thereto, the glass and windscreen of the vehicles were broken up by these unlawful assembly members by deadly weapons with an ulterior motive, in order to take revenge under the assumption that Mishra was sitting in the Thar vehicle.

In support of this contention, the plea further reads that "from the electronic evidence, it transpires that the offence of murder can never be attributable against any accused in the light of the exception due to sudden fight, sudden quarrel, heat of passion and without premeditation or in alternative exceeding the right of private defence, as contemplated under exception 2 and 4 attached to Section 300 IPC."

The State has filed its reply on Mishra's plea and counter to that has also been filed. Now arguments of both the parties will be heard next week as set up by the Court. 

On October 3, 2021, an incident took place at Tikonia Banbirpur Road, district Lakhimpur Kheri, U.P where at least 8 people were killed as violence broke out during a farmers' protest against Deputy CM Keshav Prasad Maurya and Union Minister Ajay Kumar Mishra's visits.

It was alleged that the violence ensued in the area after two SUVs including Mishra's Thar allegedly ran over a group of farmers protesting against the anti-farm laws during the visit of Uttar Pradesh Deputy CM.

Cause Title: Ashish Mishra @ Monu vs State of U.P.