Supreme Court dismisses petitions seeking probe in Judge Loya’s Death (Read Judgment)

A three-judge bench, headed by Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra and comprising Justices A M Khanwilkar and D Y Chandrachud, dismisses petition seeking probe into death of CBI Special Judge B H Loya, ruling that Judge Loya died due to “natural causes”, observed that the petitioners tried to “scandalise” the judiciary.

The Bench calls the petition misuse of judicial process. Says no reason to doubt consistent statements by judges who accompanied judge loya to nagpur.

The Court said,  “There is no reason for the court to doubt the clear and consistent statements of the four judicial officers. The documentary material on the record indicates that the death of Judge Loya was due to natural causes. There is no ground for the court to hold that there was a reasonable suspicion about the cause or circumstances of death which would merit a further inquiry.”

Further the SC had sent the case back to High Court for other issues raised in case.

“Since the case also raises certain other matters (other than the death of Judge Loya), learned counsel requested this
Court to remit the proceedings back to enable the petitioner to pursue before the High Court the reliefs sought on matters other than the death of Judge Loya. We find the request to be fair and proper. We accordingly direct that the present case shall be remitted back to the Nagpur Bench of the High Court of Judicature at Bombay. However, we clarify that the circumstances relating to the death of Judge Loya which have been dealt with by this Court in the judgment delivered.”

Full Judgement Here:

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The investigation was done professionally by Nagpur Police and those documents and evidence have been presented in the SC, the decision is based on that,” Shivaji Bodkhe, Joint CP Nagpur said.

“The petitions were wrong as they were unaware of the truth,” he added. (ANI)

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,” said SC while dismissing the petitions.

Congress said on Thursday that the Supreme Court’s dismissal of petitions seeking Special Investigation Team (SIT) probe into Justice Loya’s death case marks a sad day in India’s history.

Addressing the media, Congress leader Randeep S Surjewala said, “The verdict marks 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.”

The apex court had earlier asked the Maharashtra Government to submit the postmortem report of the CBI judge, who had died in alleged suspicious circumstances in 2014, citing that the “matter was very serious.”

Judge Loya had allegedly died of cardiac arrest in Nagpur on December 1, 2014 when he had gone to attend the wedding of a colleague’s daughter. The 48-year-old judge was handling a murder case in which BJP chief Amit Shah was among the accused, when he died of a heart attack in 2014. The judge who replaced him ruled there was not enough evidence against Mr Shah to merit a trial. Five petitions calling for an inquiry were filed after questions were raised about the death. The court said it would order an investigation if there was ground for suspicion.

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.

A bench comprising Chief Justice Dipak Misra and Justices A M Khanwilkar and D Y Chandrachud had on March 16 reserved the judgment on the pleas.

The Maharashtra government told the top court that the petitions that sought an independent probe are motivated. The judge’s death, it said, was being politicized since he was connected with a criminal case in which a person heading a political party was discharged.

The assignment of the case was one of the issues that triggered the unprecedented rift within the Supreme Court earlier this year. The case was reassigned after four of the most senior judges publicly alleged that cases with “far-reaching consequences” were being assigned to junior judges.

The Maharashtra government also contended that the statement of the four judges who were with judge Loya in his last hours were “unimpeacheable”. Judges J Kulkarni, J Barde, J Modak and JRR Rathi had given statements had given statements that said the death of Judge Loya was “natural and unfortunate”, the state said.

The petitioners pointed out that the judge was a teetotaller and led an active life, playing tennis every day for two hours. He or his family had no history of heart ailments, the court was further told.

Four senior-most apex court judges — Justices J Chelameswar, Ranjan Gogoi, M B Lokur and Kurian Joseph — at their January 12 press conference had questioned the manner in which sensitive cases were being allocated and Loya’s case was one of them.