NEW DELHI, India: The Supreme Court recently declined to interfere with the Allahabad high court’s decision to uphold Union minister Ajay Mishra ‘Teni’s’ acquittal in the 2000 murder case of Samajwadi Party youth leader Prabhat Gupta. The high court’s judgement was reaffirmed, rejecting a special leave petition (SLP) filed by the deceased’s brother, Rajeev Gupta, against the high court decision.
Mishra, a member of parliament from Lakhimpur Kheri in Uttar Pradesh, holds the Union minister of state for home affairs portfolio in the Narendra Modi government. The Supreme Court bench, consisting of Justices Bela M. Trivedi and Pankaj Mithal, dismissed the SLP after hearing senior counsel Kapil Sibal, stating that they are not inclined to interfere with the findings of the high court.
Rajeev Gupta, who has been fighting for justice for his brother, was left disappointed by the Supreme Court’s decision. Despite his requests, the UP government did not file an SLP in the Supreme Court challenging the high court’s judgement. The long battle for justice has left him questioning where victims can seek justice if the highest authority in the country, the Supreme Court, does not interfere.
The murder case, dating back to 2000, has been a contentious issue for over two decades, involving political rivalry and enmity over panchayat elections. The high court, in its ruling, stated that the prosecution failed to establish the guilt of the accused beyond reasonable doubt, leading to the acquittal of Teni and three others. The legal battle has been a long-drawn affair, marked by adjournments and delays, before a judgement was finally pronounced against the trial court’s verdict of 2004.
The controversy surrounding Teni has been further fueled by the incident in 2021, when his son and associates were accused of mowing down four farmers in Lakhimpur Kheri. The incident resulted in a total of eight deaths, including three BJP workers and a local journalist covering the farmers’ protest. Despite the controversies, Teni has maintained that all cases against him have concluded in his favor.
The Supreme Court’s refusal to intervene in the high court’s acquittal decision has left Rajeev Gupta and others questioning where victims can seek justice if the highest authority in the country does not interfere. The complex legal battle and ongoing controversies have kept the case in the public eye for over two decades, raising questions about political influence and the pursuit of justice.