SC declines to transfer UP Govt’s appeal against Union Minister

NEW DELHI, Oct 26:
The Supreme Court has declined a plea filed by Union minister Ajay Mishra seeking transfer of the Uttar Pradesh government’s appeal against his acquittal in an over 20-year-old murder case.
A bench of Chief Justice U U Lalit and Bela M Trivedi was told that the transfer was sought on grounds that the senior counsel, who has to argue the matter at Lucknow, was ordinarily based at Allahabad and because of his old age it would not be possible for him to go all the way to Lucknow for arguments.
“We do not go into all these issues as in our view, a request to the high court to hear the appeal for disposal on November 10, 2022, the date given by the high court and agreed upon by both the senior counsel would serve the ends of justice,” the bench said.
“In case the senior counsel is unable to come down to Lucknow, a request for allowing the said counsel to make submissions through video conferencing may be considered by the high court,” the bench said.
The case pertains to the murder of 24-year-old Prabhat Gupta which took place in Lakhimpur Kheri in 2000.
Ajay Mishra, Union Minister of State for Home, had faced trial for the murder of Gupta and was acquitted in 2004, after which the state filed the appeal.
A court of additional sessions judge in Lakhimpur Kheri had acquitted Mishra and others in 2004 for want of adequate evidence.
Aggrieved by the acquittals, the state government had preferred an appeal while the deceased’s family had filed a separate revision petition challenging the judgment.
Mishra had moved the top court against the administrative order passed by the Chief Justice of the High Court of Judicature at Allahabad rejecting the prayer to transfer Government appeal from Lucknow to Allahabad. (PTI)