SC to consider appointing retired SC judge to monitor Lakhimpur Kheri probetext_fields
New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Monday said it will consider names of retired apex court judges to monitor the day-to-day investigation of the Lakhimpur Kheri incident.
The bench also expressed concerns about the composition of the task force appointed to probe the incident, which saw four protesting farmers and a journalist plowed down by the car of a Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader, followed by retaliatory violence in which three BJP workers died.
A bench headed by Chief Justice N.V. Ramana and also comprising Justices Surya Kant and Hima Kohli said, "Now, we have a lot of freedom for a retired SC or HC judge. Let us see..."
The bench noted that it will find out a judge who is willing to take up the assignment.
The top court further directed the Uttar Pradesh government to upgrade its task force investigating the matter with some high-ranking officials.
It said the officers must be high-ranking officers, currently there are local Lakhimpur Kheri, sub-inspector level and DSP level officers on the task force.
Senior advocate Harish Salve, appearing for the state of Uttar Pradesh, said that they were happy for the court to appoint any retired judge, even someone who wasn't from UP – the bench had earlier only been considering retired judges from the state.
The bench told Salve that it needs one more day's time to finalise the name of the judge. "We are considering Rakesh Kumar Jain (former Punjab and Haryana HC judge) or others. We have to consult them," said the bench.
Salve submitted, "Judge can be appointed from any other state".
Earlier, the top court had said it wanted to appoint a judge outside of Uttar Pradesh.
Concluding the hearing, the top court asked the Uttar Pradesh government to look into grievances of the victim's families, who have not been paid compensation. Additional Advocate General Garima Prasad submitted that the state would take necessary steps.
The violence occurred on October 3, resulting in the killing of eight persons, including four farmers who were allegedly mowed down by the vehicles in the convoy of Ashish Misra, the son of Union Minister and BJP MP Ajay Kumar Misra.