The Supreme Court on Monday ordered no high courts shall hear petitions related to the death of Judge Loya while transferring petitions pending before the Bombay High Court to itself. These petitions will be taken up along with the other pleas before the SC.
The directives came while the court was hearing two petitions, filed by Congress leader Tehseen Poonawalla and Maharashtra journalist B S Lone, which sought an independent probe into the death of the Judge.
The three-judge bench, headed by Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra and comprising Justices AM Khanwilkar and DY Chandrachud, fixed the next date of hearing on February 2.
During the hearing today, the Maharashtra government produced the statements of four judges who had accompanied Judge Loya to a hospital on the night and ruled out anything unnatural about the incident. The government added that the state DGP had held a discreet inquiry into Judge Loya’s death on obtaining permission from the Bombay HC Chief Justice.
On January 16, the petitions seeking an independent probe into the case was brought before a bench comprising Justice Arun Mishra and Mohan M Shantanagoudar. The two-judge bench had ordered that they be heard by “an appropriate bench”. It stated: “Let the documents be placed on record within seven days and if it is considered appropriate, copies be furnished to the petitioners. Put up before the appropriate bench.”
The Maharashtra government had filed the related documents in a sealed cover and had opposed the handing over of the entire documentation to the petitioners. The SC had then left it to the Maharashtra government to take a decision on which of the documents pertaining to the CBI Judge’s death could be handed over to the petitioners.
Earlier, in a first in country’s history, four seniormost judges of the apex court — Justices J Chelameswar, Ranjan Gogoi, Madan B Lokur and Kurian Joseph — had spoken to the press about discrepancies in the functioning of the Supreme Court as well as the priorities of the CJI in roster-making for cases of national importance listed in the apex court. The case pertaining to the death of CBI Judge Loya was the trigger for the unprecedented presser.