‘Upgrade’ SIT probing Lakhimpur Kheri violence, Supreme Court tells UP govt

“You have to upgrade the task force. The officers have to be of some higher grade,” Chief Justice of India N V Ramana told senior advocate Harish Salve, who appeared for the UP government.

THE SUPREME Court on Monday asked the Uttar Pradesh government to “upgrade” its Special Investigation Team (SIT) set up to probe the Lakhimpur Kheri violence, in which eight persons including four farmers were killed on October 3. The court also said that it was in the process of finalising a former judge to monitor the SIT’s probe on a day-to-day basis.

“You have to upgrade the task force. The officers have to be of some higher grade,” Chief Justice of India N V Ramana told senior advocate Harish Salve, who appeared for the UP government.

The bench included Justices Surya Kant and Hima Kohli. Justice Surya Kant pointed out that the current team only comprised Sub-Inspectors from Lakhimpur Kheri. Salve said that a senior officer had already been included in the team.

Justice Surya Kant then asked him to give the names of some IPS officers “who are in UP cadre but do not belong to UP” to be appointed to the SIT. “Circulate the names by tomorrow evening,” said the CJI.

At the outset, the state said it had no objection to the court appointing a former judge of its choice to supervise the probe. On the appointment of a retired HC judge to monitor the probe, the CJI said it was taking time as they needed “to talk to the judge concerned”. To a suggestion that a retired SC judge monitor the probe, the CJI said: “We can consider it. Let us see which judge is going to accept this assignment”.

The court will now hear the matter on November 17.

Earlier, the court had granted time till November 15 to the state government for apprising its stand on the suggestion that a former judge of a “different high court” should monitor the state SIT probe. The court had said it did not want the one-member judicial commission appointed by the state to continue its probe into the case as it had no confidence in it.

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