LAKHIMPUR KHERI PROBE - SC raps UP govt, says we think you are dragging your feet
Millennium Post Delhi|October 21, 2021
Orders protection of witnesses

NEW DELHI: Observing that the probe into the Lakhimpur Kheri violence should not be an unending story, the Supreme Court on Wednesday rapped the Uttar Pradesh government again, saying the court was getting the impression that the state police was dragging its feet, and also ordered the protection of witnesses.

Noting that the UP government is required to dispel that impression, the top court said the state should ensure recording of statements of witnesses before magistrates and their protection.

We think you are dragging your feet, please dispel that impression, observed the top court, and red-flagged the issue of non-recording of statements of nearly 40 prosecution witnesses, of the total 44, before judicial magistrates under section 164 of the CrPC.

Please ask them to immediately take steps to record section 164 statements. That is the most important thing... protection to the victims as well as the witnesses, said the bench comprising Chief Justice N V Ramana and justices Surya Kant and Hima Kohli.

Statements under section 164 of the CrPC (Code of Criminal Procedure) are recorded before a judicial magistrate and they have evidentiary value.

The apex court, hearing a matter relating to the October 3 violence in Lakhimpur Kheri in which eight persons including four farmers were killed during a farmers’ protest, was told by the state government that statements of four out of the 44 witnesses have been recorded by the judicial magistrate.

Ten people, including Union Minister of State for Home Ajay Mishra’s son Ashish Mishra, have been arrested in connection with the violence that has triggered a political slugfest ahead of the crucial Assembly elections in the state.

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