Lakhimpur violence: SC appoints ex-judge Rakesh Kumar Jain of Punjab and Haryana HC to monitor SIT probe
New Delhi: The Supreme Court Wednesday appointed Justice Rakesh Kumar Jain, former judge of the Punjab and Haryana High Court, to supervise on day-to-day basis the Uttar Pradesh SIT’s probe into the Lakhimpur Kheri violence in which eight people including four farmers were killed on October 3.
A bench comprising Chief Justice N V Ramana and Justices Surya Kant and Hima Kohli also took note of the names of the IPS officers provided by the state government, and appointed three officials as part of the state SIT.
“Now we have verified and contacted the concerned judge we had thought of. This is Justice Rakesh Kumar Jain, a former judge of the Punjab and Haryana High Court and he will monitor the ongoing investigation so as to ensure transparency and fairness,” the bench said.
The apex court further said that the UP SIT will have to be re-constituted to accommodate the three IPS officers including the IG rank police officer Padmaja Chauhan.
“The investigation will be continued by the SIT under the supervision of the former high court judge and the matter will be listed again after the charge sheet and the status report filed by the learned judge,” the bench said.
The CJI said that a detailed order will be passed shortly.
The UP government on November 15 had agreed to the apex court’s suggestion that a former judge of its choice may be appointed to supervise the state SIT’s probe.
Prior to this, the apex court had said it had no confidence and did not want the one-member judicial commission appointed by the UP government to continue the probe into the Lakhimpur Kheri violence case.
Retired Allahabad High Court judge Justice Pradeep Kumar Srivastava was named by the state government earlier to enquire into the eruption of violence on Tikonia-Banbirpur road in Lakhimpur Kheri district.
“We are inclined to appoint a former judge of a different high court to monitor the investigation on a day-to-day basis and then see how the separate charge sheets are eventually prepared,” the bench had said.
Speaking for the bench, Justice Surya Kant had suggested the names of justices Ranjit Singh and Justice Rakesh Kumar Jain, both former judges of the Punjab and Haryana High Court and said that they are experienced in the field of criminal law and would oversee the probe of the SIT till filing of the charge sheets in the cases. The police have so far arrested 13 accused, including Union Minister of State for Home Ajay Mishra’s son Ashish Mishra, in connection with the case.
The apex court was hearing a matter about the October 3 violence in Lakhimpur Kheri in which eight persons including four farmers were killed during a farmers’ protest.
Four farmers were mowed down by an SUV in the convoy at Lakhimpur Kheri when a group agitating against the Centre’s three new farm laws was holding a demonstration against the visit of Uttar Pradesh Deputy Chief Minister Keshav Prasad Maurya on October 3.
Two BJP workers and a driver were beaten to death allegedly by the angry protesters, and a local journalist was killed in the violence.