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No need to probe Judge Loya death, rules SC, calls petitions ‘frivolous’

The Supreme Court, which held that all litigation concerning circumstances of the death of judge Loya is concluded with this judgement, pulled up the lawyers for the petitioners for doubting the judiciary.

india Updated: Apr 19, 2018 19:45 IST
Ashok Bagriya & Bhadra Sinha
Ashok Bagriya & Bhadra Sinha
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
Loya death investigation,supreme court,judge loya death case
The three-judge bench that included chief justice Dipak Misra held that all litigations concerning circumstances of death of judge Loya is concluded with this judgement. (PTI Photo)

The Supreme Court on Thursday dismissed pleas seeking an independent probe into the death of special CBI judge BH Loya, ruling that he died of natural causes and the petitions were a serious attempt to scandalise and obstruct the course of justice.

The three-judge bench that included chief justice Dipak Misra held that all litigations concerning circumstances of death of judge Loya is concluded with this judgement.

“PIL jurisdiction is being brazenly used by those who have an agenda to settle scores. The true face of the petition is seldom unravelled. It’s a serious concern as frivolous PILs detract court’s time from hearing genuine petitions of personal liberty,” the judges said. “There is no reason to doubt the consistent statements by judges who accompanied Judge Loya to Nagpur.”

The Supreme Court also condemned the petitioners for referring to cases not related to the Judge Loya case, and said “unfounded aspersions” were cast on high court judges and insinuations were made that one individual was controlling the judiciary.

The court pulled up the petitioners’ lawyers for making “scurrilous” remarks against the judiciary and doubting the statement of the high court judges. It said the action amounts to contempt against the petitioner for “scandalising” the judiciary but doesn’t issue notice.

Judge Loya, who was hearing the alleged Sohrabuddin Sheikh encounter case, died of a cardiac arrest on December 1, 2014, in Nagpur, where he had gone to attend the wedding of a colleague’s daughter. BJP chief Amit Shah, among others, was named in the Sohrabuddin case and later discharged.

The issue of Judge Loya’s death came under the spotlight in November last year after media reports quoted his sister as raising suspicion about the circumstances surrounding it and linking it to the Sohrabuddin case. But Loya’s son in January this year said his father died of natural causes.

A clutch of petitions, including those filed by activist Tehseen Poonawala and Maharashtra-based journalist BS Lone, was moved in the Supreme Court seeking an independent probe into the alleged mysterious death of Judge Loya, which the court had termed as a “serious matter”.

In March, the Supreme Court bench had reserved judgment on the pleas.

The Maharashtra government, opposing the petitions in the top court, argued that all the pleas seeking an independent probe into the judge’s death were motivated and aimed at targeting “one individual” in the guise of upholding the rule of law.

It came down heavily on the alleged accusations, bullying and browbeating of judges in the top court by some activist lawyers and said the judiciary and judicial officers need to be saved from such averments.

Those seeking a probe, however, referred to the sequence of events to highlight that a fair investigation was needed to rule out any foul play in Judge Loya’s death.

Sohrabuddin Sheikh, a small-time criminal, was allegedly gunned down by a team of policemen from Gujarat and Rajasthan in November 2005 when he was on his way from Hyderabad to Sangli. The case includes the alleged killing of his wife Kausar BI and their associate Tulsiram Prajapati.

Besides Shah, Rajasthan home minister Gulabchand Kataria, Rajasthan-based businessman Vimal Patni, former Gujarat police chief PC Pande, additional director general of police Geeta Johri and Gujarat police officers Abhay Chudasama and NK Amin have already been discharged in the Sohrabuddin case.

First Published: Apr 19, 2018 10:53 IST