SC Dismisses Probe Plea into Judge Loya’s Death, “No Grounds to Suspect Foul Play”

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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.

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

Headed by Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra, the three-judge bench 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 scandalize the judiciary” and impeach the credibility of the judges, right from the subordinate judiciary up to the Supreme Court.

Justice Loya

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 senior lawyers Dushyant Dave and Indira Jaising, and advocate Prashant Bhushan for insinuations made 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.
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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