The Supreme Court has once again come down hard on the Uttar Pradesh government regarding the Lakhimpur Kheri violence that erupted earlier this month, asking the authorities to provide protection to the witnesses involved in the case.
A Supreme Court bench headed by Chief Justice N V Ramana asked the Uttar Pradesh government, represented by senior advocates Harish Salve and Garima Prasad, to record the statements of all the witnesses involved in the Lakhimpur Kheri incident, under Section 164 of the CrPC.
The bench, which also consisted of Justices Surya Kant and Hima Kohli, stated as per PTI reports, “We direct the District Judge concerned to entrust the task of recording of evidence under Section 164 of the CrPC to the nearest judicial magistrates available.”
Further, the Supreme Court bench asked the Uttar Pradesh government to convey its concerns to forensic labs and experts on preparation of reports on the electronic evidence of the incident and also directed the state government to file its report on two complaints, one of which was connected to the lynching of a journalist.
The Supreme Court has further adjourned the Lakhimpur Kheri matter to November 8. The bench further told Salve, “The state is directed to file separate replies in the cases.” The bench also questioned the state government over the number of witnesses.
The court said that the number of eyewitnesses made by the prosecution in the case is considerably low. “The case is that thousands of farmers were going on and a rally was going on. Only 23 witnesses are eyewitnesses?” the bench questioned.
Offering an explanation for the same, Salve said that out of 68 witnesses, statements of 30 witnesses have been recorded under Section 164 of the CrPC and some more testimonies will be recorded. Defending the state, he said, “Of these 30 witnesses, 23 claim to be eyewitnesses. A lot of witnesses are formal witnesses of recovery and all.”
The Supreme Court had said earlier that the probe into the Lakhimpur Kheri matter should not become an “unending matter”. In the last hearing, the apex court had said that the state police were dragging its feet, and protection should be provided to all the witnesses.
(With agency inputs)
Courtesy – www.dnaindia.com