Former Supreme Court judge Justice (retired) Madan Lokur, slamming the detention of political leaders in Uttar Pradesh, said “Priyanka Gandhi is being kept illegally”. He also called the Congress leader’s arrest without any order as “unconstitutional”.
“She has been arrested and kept her in a rest house. When you arrest a person that person either has to be kept in police custody in police station or in jail. Now, the rest house has to be declared a jail or a sub-jail which hasn’t been done. So, therefore, she has been kept in a place illegally,” he said.
Priyanka Gandhi Vadra said she was “illegally” arrested in Uttar Pradesh’s Sitapur on Monday when she was on her way to Lakhimpur where eight people, including four farmers, were killed on Sunday.
The former judge described the incident at Lakhimpur Kheri, where farmers were allegedly run over by a car driven by the son of a Union minister, as “horrific”. He also said there should be a detailed enquiry into the incident.
“It’s a simple case of murder… And the first thing you do in the case of a murder is to arrest the accused. So, steps should be taken now. 48 hours is a long, long time,” said Justice Lokur.
An SUV in the convoy of Union Minister Ajay Kumar Mishra rammed a group of protesters on Sunday. Eight people, including four farmers, were killed. The farmers have alleged that the SUV was driven by the Union Minister’s son Ashish Mishra. An FIR has been filed against him listing murder charges, but he is yet to be arrested. Both father and son have denied their presence at the spot during the incident.
“It’s very odd, very strange that these guys are still roaming around free. How come? What’s the explanation for this,” he said on no arrests in the case.
Justice Lokur also said the case must be taken by the Supreme Court. “The Supreme Court has to be alert that fundamental rights, constitutional rights are being brazenly violated,” he said.
Political leaders across party lines have been denied permission to visit the families of those who were killed in the incident. “Nowadays, Section 144 is being used on the drop of a hat. Somebody has died and someone wants to commiserate with the family, what is wrong with that…It’s not reason enough,” the former judge said.
A case has been filed against Priyanka Gandhi Vadra, Deepender Hooda and Ajay Kumar Lallu in Sitapur under sections related to preventive detention due to apprehension of “breach of peace”. A delegation of AAP leaders from Punjab on their way to Lakhimpur has also been detained.