SC rejects public lawsuit seeking probe into death of Judge Loya

By admin

Apr.Thu,18/07:10:02 PM

Comment(0)

April 19, 2018

Judge BH Loya
Special CBI judge BH Loya died in December, 2014 while he was presiding over Sohrabuddin Sheikh encounter case in which BJP president Amit Shah was an accused.

Highlights

  • Special CBI judge BH Loya died in December, 2014
  • Loya was hearing Sohrabuddin case when he died
  • Supreme Court has rejected PILs seeking probe into his death

The Supreme Court today dismissed a bunch of public interest litigations (PILs) seeking an independent probe into the death of Brijgopal Harkishan Loya in December 2014. At the time of his death, Judge Loya was presiding over the Sohrabuddin Sheikh encounter case. BJP president Amit Shah was an accused in the case, in which he was later acquitted from all charges.

Judge Loya died of heart attack on December 1, 2014 in Nagpur where he had gone to attend the wedding ceremony of the daughter of one of his colleagues. Four other judges, who also attended the wedding ceremony had said that judge Loya died of heart attack.

The three-judge bench of the Supreme Court comprising Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra and Justices AM Khanwilkar and DY Chandrachud said that there was no reason to doubt the statements of the four witness judges.

The Supreme Court dismissed a bunch of public interest litigations (PILs) seeking an independent probe into the death of Brijgopal Harkishan Loya in December 2014. At the time of his death, Judge Loya was presiding over the Sohrabuddin Sheikh encounter case. BJP president Amit Shah was an accused in the case, in which he was later acquitted from all charges.

Judge Loya allegedly died of heart attack on December 1, 2014 in Nagpur where he had gone to attend the wedding ceremony of the daughter of one of his colleagues. Four other judges, who also attended the wedding ceremony had said that judge Loya died of heart attack.

The three-judge bench of the Supreme Court comprising Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra and Justices AM Khanwilkar and DY Chandrachud said that there was no reason to doubt the statements of the four witness judges.

What we know about Judge Loya’s case?

  1. BH Loya was a judge with the CBI special court that heard the Sohrabuddin case. He was the second judge to hear the high-profile encounter case. He had been appointed as the special CBI judge in June, 2014 after the presiding judge JT Utpat was transferred from the case.
  2. Interestingly, Judge Utpat was removed from the case a day before he was about to pronounce the order on a petition for discharge of Amit Shah from the Sohrabuddin encounter case. However, the Supreme Court had earlier directed that the presiding judge in the case should not be replaced. Incidentally, Judge Utpat had taken strong objection to Amit Shah’s absence from the court during trial.
  3. Judge Loya, after taking over from Utpat, had also expressed his displeasure over Amit Shah’s absence. On the last hearing in the Sohrabuddin encounter case, Loya had asked Amit Shah’s lawyer to ensure that the BJP president was present on the next hearing scheduled for December 15.
  4. Loya died on December 1. His successor discharged Amit Shah from Sohrabuddin encounter case concluding that he need not stand trial. The CBI did not challenge the judgment.
  5. Following reports in November last year, the Bombay Lawyers Association filed a PIL in the Bombay High Court in January this year but during the pendency of the matter, fresh petitions were filed in the Supreme Court.
  6. The matter was to be heard on January 12 in the Supreme Court but that very day four senior-most judges of the apex court held a press conference, an unprecedented move, questioned the manner in which cases were being listed in the Supreme Court. After the press conference, Justice Arun Mishra, who was one of the two judges to hear the PIL seeking probe into Loya’s death, recused himself from the case.
  7. After Justice Arun Mishra recused himself, CJI Dipak Misra constituted a three-judge bench comprising Justices AM Khanwilkar, DY Chandrachud and himself. The bench ordered that all the petitions seeking probe in Loya’s death case filed in any of the courts including the Bombay High Court be transferred to itself.
  8. Sharp exchanges were seen during the several rounds of hearing — in this case between senior counsels Dushyant Dave, representing petitioners, and Harish Salve and Mukul Rohtagi, representing Maharashtra government.
  9. The Maharashtra government counsels told the court that a discreet investigation was carried out by state police following media reports about Loya’s death. The police also recorded statements of the four judges who attended the wedding ceremony.
  10. After hearing both the sides, the Supreme Court had reserved its order on March 16. While dismissing the PILs seeking probe into Loya’s death today, Justice Chandrachud said, “An aura of good faith was sought to be created by the petitioners, but as submissions progressed, it fell apart.”