NEW DELHI: Expressing displeasure over a tweet posted by a media organization which claimed that Chief Justice of India (CJI) NV Ramana had met the kin of the victims of Lakhmipur Kheri violence, the Supreme Court on Friday Said that he respects the media and their freedom but it is “not fair at all”.
The top court, which was hearing the Lakhimpur Kheri violence case, termed the tweet “very unfortunate” and said the media should verify the facts.
A bench of Chief Justice, Justice Surya Kant and Justice Hima Kohli said, “We regret to see that someone is crossing the limits of freedom of expression. They should verify the facts. These are all false representations which are being made.” Huh.”
The issue arose after a lawyer told the bench that on Thursday a media organization had posted a tweet saying that the CJI had met the families of the victims of the Lakhimpur Kheri incident.
Senior advocate Harish Salve, appearing for the Uttar Pradesh government, said, “We are all falling prey to irresponsible tweets. I have also seen something about myself.”
CJI Ramana said, “He must have some understanding as I was sitting in the court. How can I go to Lucknow and meet the family.”
The CJI said, “Let it be there. We should not care about these things. In public life, we have to achieve…”.
Justice Surya Kant said the court expects them to produce an authentic and voluntary report to say that “this is what we have done”.
Justice Kohli said, “We respect the media and their freedom but this is not the way to circumvent it. It is not fair at all.”
The CJI said, “It is an integral part of public life. Let it be.”
The top court said it was not satisfied with the steps taken by the Uttar Pradesh government in the Lakhimpur Kheri violence case in which eight people died on October 3.
The bench asked Salve to communicate with the topmost police officer that the evidence and other relevant material in the case has not been destroyed.
The court has fixed the matter for hearing on October 20.
Four farmers were crushed by an SUV in Lakhimpur Kheri when a group agitating against the Centre’s three new agricultural laws protested against the visit of UP Deputy Chief Minister Keshav Prasad Maurya on October 3.
Angry protesters allegedly thrashed two BJP workers and a driver, while a local journalist was also killed in the violence.
An FIR has been registered against Union Minister of State for Home Ajay Mishra’s son Ashish Mishra and others under section 302 of IPC in the incident at Tikonia police station, but no arrest has been made so far.
Farmer leaders have claimed that Ashish was in one of the cars that allegedly drove the protesters down, but the minister has denied the allegations.
Many farmer organizations are opposing the passage of three laws – the Farmer’s Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Act, 2020, the Essential Commodities (Amendment) Act, 2020 and the Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement on Price Assurance and Agriculture Act, 2020 from last November.
The apex court had in January stayed the implementation of these laws.
Initially, the protest started in Punjab in November last year and later spread to Delhi, Haryana and Uttar Pradesh.