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SC Dismisses Pleas Seeking Probe Into Judge Loya's Death, Says No Grounds to Suspect Foul Play

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

Utkarsh Anand | CNN-News18

Updated:April 19, 2018, 12:06 PM IST
SC Dismisses Pleas Seeking Probe Into Judge Loya's Death, Says No Grounds to Suspect Foul Play
File photo of Judge BH Loya. (Image: CNN-New18/TV Grab)

New Delhi: Judge BH Loya died of natural causes, ruled the Supreme Court on Thursday as it also held that the petitions demanding a further investigation into the death were "veiled attempts at front attack on the independence of the judiciary”.

A three-judge bench headed by Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra dismissed a clutch of petitions, seeking a probe into circumstances leading to death of Loya in 2014 when the judge was hearing the high profile Sohrabuddin Sheikh encounter killing case from Gujarat.

The judgment, authored by Justice DY Chandrachud, came down heavily on the petitioners and the submissions made by their lawyers during the course of the hearing.

The bench, also comprising Justice AM Khanwilkar, described the plea as a "serious attempt to scandalise the judiciary" and impeach the credibility of the judges, right from the subordinate judiciary up to the Supreme Court.

The court maintained that the two judicial officers who travelled to Nagpur with Loya for a wedding and stayed with him in a guest house had given "consistent and truthful" accounts of what really happened and there is no reason why they should be disbelieved.

It added that "this will be in larger public interest to uphold the independence of judiciary by trusting their statements”.

The bench reproached the insinuations made by senior lawyers Dushyant Dave and Indira Jaising, and advocate Prashant Bhushan against the members of the judiciary.

"These are attempts to cast aspersions on judges... serious attempts to scandalise the court and administration of justice," said the court.

It asserted that the case in hand is an example where personal gains and political scores are sought to be settled under guise of filing PILs.

The bench added that judicial process will be reduced to charade if the courts were to be burdened with such cases with extraneous reasons.

It further criticised the petitioners for seeking recusal of Justices Khanwilkar and Chandrachud because they were also from Maharashtra and could have known the fellow judicial officers whose credibility were being questioned.

"Higher principles guide us," said the court, adding the judges did not have to recuse for reasons like this.

The bench said that the conduct amounted to criminal contempt of the court but the proceedings were not being initiated only because the petitioners should not feel they had an unequal battle with the law.

It made it clear that the matter relating to Loya's death shall be put to rest now and that no other court in the country shall entertain any further plea in this regard.

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| Edited by: Nitya Thirumalai
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