Justice Loya's death: SC dismisses pleas seeking SIT probe

Loya Case: Rahul Corners Amit Shah

With the Supreme Court dismissing the petition that sought a court-monitored investigation into the death of Judge B.H. Loya, both the Congress and the BJP have launched a tirade against each other over the politically sensitive case.

On the plea that the judicial officers have to be cross-examined, as there are inherent contradictions in their statements, the bench said when there is very little proof that they are conspirators in a murder, the court must stand by the statements of the judicial officers.

The bench said if this was to be the test, it was rather ironical that the petitioners had instituted proceedings before the Bombay High Court whose judges were expected to be faced with the same situation. Judges of the Supreme Court hear appeals arising from judgments rendered by judges of the high courts in which they served, either as judges or on appointments as Chief Justices. The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) came down heavily on opposition parties after the Supreme Court dismissed the petition seeking a Special Investigation Team (SIT) probe into the death of Judge Loya.

"The circumstances of Justice Loya's death raised several questions".

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In a scathing verdict, bench headed by CJI raps petitioners and lawyers for attempting to "scandalise" the judiciary.

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"There is a grave danger that if this state of affairs is allowed to continue, it would seriously denude the efficacy of the judicial system by detracting from the ability of the court to devote its time and resources to cases which legitimately require attention". In its final conclusion, the Bench held that documentary material and statement of witnesses were "clear and consistent" that the death of judge Loya was due to natural causes and merits no further enquiry.

The court also condemned the manner in which CPIL brought on record the opinion of an independent expert, Upendra Kaul, to establish alleged foul play in the December 2014 death of judge Loya. The conduct of the petitioners and the intervenors scandalises the process of the court and prima facie constitutes criminal contempt.

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Mr Surjewala said that Judge Loya's sister gave an interview, alleging that he was offered a bribe of Rs 100 crore along with a flat in Mumbai if he were to deliver a verdict in favour of the accused.

Hitting out at Surjewala, Javadekar said Gandhi made capital of it by addressing a press conference and taking 150 MPs to the doorsteps of the President of India. "Had there been any doubt, the Supreme Court would have directed some enquiry".

A batch of pleas, including those filed by Congress leader Tehseen Poonawala and Maharashtra-based B S Lone, was filed in the top court seeking an independent probe into Loya's death in 2014. The Congress had then demanded an impartial investigation into Loya's death. Shah was later discharged in the case.

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