SC Says Judge Loya’s Death ‘Natural’, Rules Out Independent Probe

The Supreme Court on Thursday, 19 April, dismissed petitions seeking independent probe into the death of special CBI judge Brijgopal Harkishan Loya, who was hearing the high-profile Sohrabuddin Sheikh fake encounter case. The Supreme Court judgment slammed the petitioners for “maligning” the judiciary.

Judge Loya died allegedly due to a cardiac arrest in Nagpur on 1 December 2014 when he had gone to attend the wedding of a colleague’s daughter.

  • Reading the judgment, Justice Chandrachud said that frivolous and motivated petitions should be discouraged, adding that it was against the judiciary
  • Several accused, including police personnel, are currently facing trial for their involvement in the alleged fake encounter of Sohrabuddin Shaikh

'Rahul Gandhi must not fight political battles through corridors of court': BJP

"This case was not activated to serve public interest but to serve the interests of Congress and damage the interests of BJP, our party President Amit Shah in particular," Union Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad on SC's dismissal of pleas seeking SIT probe in the Judge Loya death case.

Judge Loya case: 'The verdict marks a sad day in India's history,' says Congress

Congress spokesperson Randeep Surjewala said that the verdict marked a “sad day in India's history”.

The Supreme Court verdict has left many questions unanswered.There were discrepancies in the post-mortem report, even in recording the name of the victim properly, says RS Surjewala, Congress spokesperson.

Truth Has Come Out: Nagpur Doctor Who Received Judge Loya's Body

Dr Prashant Rathi, who received Judge Loya’s body in Nagpur, said that the truth has come out.

Now that the truth has come out, I am a relieved man. There was a time when my role was doubted. There should be no doubts and confusions after the SC’s verdict, said Dr Prashant Rathi

Watch: The Quint Explains SC Verdict Over Judge Loya's Death

The Quint's legal correspondent Vakasha Sachdev explains the Judge Loya verdict in less than 90 seconds.

Loya verdict will raise more questions, says Congress

In his first response to the verdict, Congress leader Abhishek Manu Singhvi said the Apex court can remove suspicions only by dealing with them directly.

"Am prepared to accept a) heavy emphasis in SC Loya regarding veracity of accompanying judges b) anguish regarding scandalous arguments (c) initiation of contempt if it arises (d) provided it is accompanied by solid reasons rebutting the 7/8 suspicious circumstances raised. Absent that, above lamentations not enough (sic)," he tweeted.

"Dispassionate analysis of Loya judgement must await its full reasoning. But unless logical reasons found in it, it will raise more questions and leave many unanswered," Congress spokesperson Abhishek Singhvi said on Twitter.

Judge Loya case: Rahul Gandhi should apologise, says Yogi

Yogi Adityanath addressed the Supreme Court's verdict on Judge Loya death case by slamming Congress and asking Rahul Gandhi to apologise.

"The Supreme Court verdict has cleared all air. Congress should apologise. Earlier, the Congress party tried to malign by talking of 'saffron terror' and then raising questions on Judge Loya death probe," said. Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath.

"The verdict iJudge Loya case has exposed the Congress once again. Rahul Gandhi should apologise to the people of the country. They have tried to create such an environment that develops negative emotions. in people for the govt. Welcome the decision of Supreme Court," he added.

BJP accuses Congress of 'maligning' the judiciary

BJP spokesperson Sambit Patra addressing the media on SC verdict over Judge Loya’s death case said that petitions seeking independent probe was filed to “settle political scores”.

He accused the Congress of trying to “malign” the judiciary, and said that it was a “new low” for the party.

BJP slammed the petitioners in Judge Loya's case. "Government has vindicated our stand. Judge Loya died of natural causes," said Sambit Patra, BJP spokesperson.

"Congress always conspire in the past against those, who put a challenge before the party. it is the party who impose emergency in this country. The conspiracy was hatched to defame Modi ji and Amit Shah before Gujarat election," he added.

Petitioners Unaware of Truth: Nagpur Joint Commissioner of Police

Nagpur’s Joint Commissioner of Police Shivaji Bodke on Thursday, 19 April said that the investigation into Judge Loya’s death case was done “professionally”, and that the SC decision was based on that. He added that the petitioners were “unaware” of the truth.

Judge Loya died allegedly due to a cardiac arrest in Nagpur on 1 December 2014 when he had gone to attend the wedding of a colleague’s daughter.

SC Clear that No Doubt Over Loya's Death: Former Attorney General

Former Attorney Mukul Rohatgi, responding to Supreme Court verdict dismissing independent probe said that the apex court was “clear that there is no doubt over cause of Judge Loya's death”.

These petitioners did not uphold the rule of law. The main aim was to attack some senior functionaries of the current government. There was no question of foul play in the death of Judge Loya. The petition had personal interest, and not public interest, says Mukul Rohatgi, Former Attorney General.

Black Day for Indian Judiciary: Prashant Bhushan

Speaking to ANI after the SC verdict dismissing independent probe into the death of Judge Loya, Prashant Bhushan said that it was a black day for the Indian judiciary.

SC Bench Slams Advocates for their 'Conduct' During Case Hearing

The Supreme Court took the names of senior advocates, including Dushyant Dave, Indira Jaisingh, Prashant Bhushan, expressing anguish and made strong observations for their conduct during the hearing of the Loya case, reported LiveLaw.

The Supreme Court also made it clear that the conduct of lawyers amounts to criminal contempt but the court will not initiate contempt.

"Such petitions have potential to endanger the judicial system. This case is a frontal attack on the judiciary," said Supreme Court.

The bench said that “serious attacks” were made at the judges of Bombay High Court, and that even they were not spared.

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Judge Loya Died a Natural Death: SC

The SC bench quoted three instances to conclude that Judge Loya died of natural causes.

1. Indisputable statements of judicial officers.

2. Nothing wrong in friends and colleagues sharing same room at Ravi Bhawan.

3. Loya called his wife on Nov 30, said he was staying at Ravi Bhawan.

SC Dismisses PILs Seeking Independent Probe Into Judge Loya's Death

The Supreme Court on Thursday dismissed petitions seeking independent inquiry into the death of special CBI judge Brijgopal Harkishan Loya.

Reading the judgment, Justice Chandrachud said frivolous and motivated petitions should be discouraged, adding that it was against the judiciary.

Chandrachud added that business and political rivalries should be settled outside, reported LiveLaw. There is absolutely no merit in allegations that Judge Loya’s death was suspicious.

The bench of Chief Justice Dipak Misra, Justice AM Khanwilkar and Justice DY Chandrachud observed that "there is no merit in the petitions and there is no reason to doubt the statements of sitting judges; attempt of the petitioners was to malign the judiciary. This amounts to doubting the integrity of the institution".

There were clear and consistent statements of judicial officers who accompanied him to Nagpur, he said.

Justice Chandrachud Starts Reading Judgment

Justice Chandrachud starts reading judgment in Judge Loya death case in the Supreme Court, reported LiveLaw.

“The SC has no reason to disbelieve the judicial officers,” Justice Chandrachud said.

According to LiveLaw, Chandrachud said, Dushyant Dave, the petitioner’s counsel has gone to the extent of insinuating the judicial officers based on unrelated cases. He also added that the the intent of the petition seeking independent was to “malign judiciary”.

The Case So Far

A batch of pleas – including those by Congress leader Tehseen Poonawala and Maharashtra-based journalist BS Lone – were filed in the Supreme Court seeking an independent probe into Special CBI Judge BH Loya's alleged mysterious death in 2014.

The Maharashtra government had earlier argued in the top court that all pleas seeking an independent probe into Judge Loya's death were motivated and aimed at targeting ‘one individual’ in the guise of upholding the rule of law.

It had come down heavily on the accusations, bullying and browbeating of judges in the apex court by some activist lawyers in the Loya case, and said that the judiciary and judicial officers need to be saved from such averments.

Meanwhile, those seeking an independent probe into the matter had referred to the sequence of events to highlight that a fair investigation was needed to rule out any foul play in his death.

Judge Loya's death came under spotlight in November 2017 after media reports quoting his sister had fuelled suspicion about the circumstances surrounding his death and its link to the Sohrabuddin case. But Loya's son had on 14 January 2018 said that his father had died of natural causes.

Who Were Discharged in the Case Earlier?

In the Sohrabuddin Sheikh fake encounter case, BJP president Amit 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 been discharged.

Several of the accused, including police personnel, are currently facing trial for their involvement in the alleged fake encounter of Sohrabuddin, his wife Kausar Bi, and their associate Tulsiram Prajapati in Gujarat in November 2005. The case was later transferred to the CBI and the trial shifted to Mumbai.

On 23 November 2005, Sohrabuddin Sheikh and his wife Kausar Bi were travelling by bus from Hyderabad to Sangli in Mahrashtra. While on the way, the Gujarat Anti-Terrorism Squad (ATS) stopped the bus and abducted the couple. Three days later, on 26 November, Sohrabuddin was shot dead in what the police called an encounter, but it was later found to be fake by the investigators.

(With inputs from PTI)

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