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Change in Bench, CJI Dipak Misra to Hear Justice Loya Case Amid Rift in Top Judiciary

The composition of the bench changed on Saturday amid the rift between the CJI and four senior-most judges of the Supreme Court over allocation of cases.

News18.com

Updated:January 20, 2018, 4:35 PM IST
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Change in Bench, CJI Dipak Misra to Hear Justice Loya Case Amid Rift in Top Judiciary
File photo of Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra.

New Delhi: A new three-judge bench headed by Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra is scheduled to hear the Justice Loya case on Monday. The bench excludes Justice Arun Mishra, whose bench was assigned the case earlier.

The composition of the bench was changed on Saturday amid the rift between the CJI and four senior-most judges of the Supreme Court over allocation of cases. Justices J Chelameswar, Ranjan Gogoi, Madan B Lokur and Kurian Joseph had raised issues about "select" benches getting such cases and the posting of Judge Loya's case to Court No. 10 was apparently the trigger.

Hints that the PILs pertaining to the death of Justice Loya, who was trying the politically sensitive Sohrabuddin Sheikh encounter case, may go to another bench came last week when an order on the Supreme Court website said the case should be “put up before the appropriate bench”.

Posting this case before Justice Arun Mishra’s bench was apparently the trigger that had led the four senior-most judges to come out openly against the Chief Justice of India.

The four senior apex court judges - Justices J Chelameswar, Ranjan Gogoi, M B Lokur and Kurian Joseph - had convened an unprecedented press conference raising some issues, including "selective" allocation of cases by Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra. The cases indicated by them included this case.

Loya, who was hearing the sensitive Sohrabuddin Sheikh encounter case, had allegedly died of cardiac arrest in Nagpur on December 1, 2014, when he had gone to attend the wedding of a colleague's daughter.

The issue of Loya's death had come under the spotlight in November last year after media reports quoting his sister had fuelled suspicion about the circumstances surrounding his death and its link to the Sohrabuddin case. However, Loya's son had on January 14 said in Mumbai that his father died of natural causes and not under suspicious circumstances.

The court had earlier termed as "serious matter" the issue of Loya's death and had asked Maharashtra government to file certain documents, including the autopsy report. The counsel for petitioners had told the court that this was a case of alleged mysterious death of a judge, who was hearing a sensitive case, and an independent probe was required.

In his plea, he had claimed that circumstances revolving around the death of the judge were "questionable, mysterious and contradicting".

A PIL seeking probe into the judge's death was also filed before the Bombay High Court on January 8 by the Bombay Lawyers' Association.

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| Edited by: Nitya Thirumalai
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