BH Loya Case: 15 Oppn Parties Demand Prez for Independent Probe
Judge Brijgopal Harkishan Loya, 48, died in Nagpur in December 2014. He was hearing the politically sensitive Sohrabuddin Sheikh fake encounter case, in which BJP chief Amit Shah is a main accused.
Judge Brijgopal Harkishan Loya, 48, died in Nagpur in December 2014. He was hearing the politically sensitive Sohrabuddin Sheikh fake encounter case, in which BJP chief Amit Shah is a main accused.(Photo Courtesy: The Quint)
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BH Loya Case: 15 Oppn Parties Demand Prez for Independent Probe

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Maha Govt Opposed Pleas for Independent Probe

The Maharashtra government opposed the pleas seeking an independent probe of the death of special CBI judge B H Loya, in the SC, terming them as "motivated" and based on "yellow journalism".

"This hearing must come to an end after four judicial officers have recorded their statements. Either these judges will have to be believed or this court will have to say that they all are lying," senior advocate Mukul Rohatgi, appearing for Maharashtra, told a bench comprising Chief Justice Dipak Misra and Justices A M Khanwilkar and D Y Chandrachud.

KEY EVENT

Watch: Rahul Gandhi Addresses a Press Conf on Judge Loya Case

After meeting President Ramnath Kovind, the representatives of Opposition parties told reporters that they have requested an independent investigation into the “mysterious” death of special CBI judge BH Loya.

Congress president Rahul Gandhi informed the reporters that 114 MPs from 15 parties signed the memorandum.

“We feel that that Judge Loya’s death was suspicious. There have been two other suspicious deaths. These are the concerns we raised with the President and he assured us that something would be done,” Gandhi said.

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KEY EVENT

Oppn MPs to Meet Prez Kovind Today

Around 120 leaders of Opposition will meet President Ram Nath Kovind today at 5 pm over Judge Loya’s death case.

KEY EVENT

Oppn MPs to Submit Petition to Prez for Further Investigation

Opposition MPs in the Parliament are expected to submit a petition to President Ram Nath Kovind, appealing for further investigation into the death of Judge Loya.

KEY EVENT

Hearing in Loya Case Turn Acrimonious as Lawyers Clash

The Supreme Court hearing on the plea turned acrimonious on Monday, 5 February, with one of the lawyers for the petitioners seeking a probe appeared to be diluting his stand. The heated exchanges between two senior counsel Dushyant Dave and Pallav Sisodia erupted after Dave accused the latter of "sabotage".

While Dave is appearing for Bombay Lawyers Association, Sisodia is appearing for Maharashtra based journalist Bandhurj Samghaji Lone.

Asking the bench of Chief Justice Dipak Misra, Justice AM Khanwilkar and Justice DY Chandrachud to pass "appropriate orders" including about "accountability of persons responsible", Sisodia, in his two page note said: "...an independent probe can't be one way traffic in which persons making allegations can just 'hit and run' without any responsibility to damages caused to the reputation, prestige and faith in institutions" including the top court and judiciary as a whole.

Dave, who had concluded his arguments on last Friday, described the position articulated by Sisodia on behalf of his client as "sabotage". At this Sisodia, who was sitting close to Dave, got up and said: "You can go to hell or heaven or anywhere... we don't care."

An agitated Dave retorted that they may not care but he will continue to raise the issue. He targeted senior counsel Harish Salve saying that he had appeared for Amit Shah and was now appearing for the Maharashtra government and is protecting Shah.

Sisodia responded, saying Amit Shah was "capable of protecting himself".Trying to restore calm, Justice Chandrachud said: "You can't shout. You have to listen when the judge is speaking. You shall not shout me down."

As Dave said: "I will not listen to you", the judge snapped back: "Then we will not listen to you."

"Please don't reduce the level of dialogue in the court to the level of fish market," Justice Chandrachud said in retaliation to the arguments in court.

Mumbai Lawyers' Body to File Fresh Plea to Seek Cross-Examination of Judges

A Mumbai lawyers' body will file a plea in the Supreme Court, on Tuesday, 6 February, seeking to cross-examine 11 people, including two judges, in connection with the death of special CBI judge B H Loya.

The organisation, also wants to cross-examine four of the judge’s family members.

Dave, who appears for the Bombay Lawyers' Association in the matter, said the application will be filed on Tuesday.

Loya's Treatment Not In Records, Says Petitioners' Lawyer; Court Adjourned

Lawyer appearing for one of the petitioners told the Supreme Court that it was not in record as to what treatment was provided to Judge B H Loya in the hospital, reported ANI.

The Supreme Court has announced that the next hearing in the case will be held on 9 February.

Medical Records Contradict Each Other, Says Petitioner's Lawyer

The bench resumed hearing the pleas demanding an independent probe into the death of Special CBI Judge BH Loya at 2 pm on Monday.

Senior advocate Dushyant Dave requested the court to place on the record of the proceedings a video of the interview of Loya’s kin, which the court accepted.

Senior Advocate V Giri, meanwhile, read out the written submissions which sought to establish the contradictions in the State’s version of Loyas death.

Citing the medical records, Giri reportedly said that the medical records on Loya’s discharge contradict each other.

Won't Comment on Sohrabuddin Case: SC

SC will steer clear of comments on the Sohrabuddin case and focus mainly on Loya case. The next hearing in SC is on 5 February.

SC to Resume Hearing Pleas Seeking Probe into Judge Loya's Death

The Supreme Court will resume hearing on the pleas seeking an independent probe into the alleged mysterious death of special CBI judge B H Loya on Friday, 2 february.

The apex court, during the last hearing on 22 January, had dubbed as "serious" the issues raised in the pleas but had castigated senior lawyer Dushyant Dave for casting aspersions on BJP president Amit Shah in the case.

It had also taken umbrage at senior advocate Indira Jaising for inferring a possible gagging of the media in the case after which she had withdrawn her statement.

Since then, political parties and more prominently the Congress has been raking up the issue of Loya's death outside the judicial forum and demanding an independent probe.

'Pleas on Loya's Death Serious'

The Supreme Court dubbed as "serious" the issues raised in the pleas relating to the death of special CBI judge B H Loya, but castigated two senior advocates.

First, the bench got irked when senior advocate Dushyant Dave, appearing for a Bombay lawyers' body which has filed a PIL in the high court there, took the name of BJP president Amit Shah during the hearing, alleging that everything has been done to protect him (Shah).

"As of today, it is a natural death. Then, do not cast aspersions," the bench said while considering the strong opposition on the issue by senior advocate Harish Salve, the counsel for the Maharashtra government.

Second, CJI Dipak Misra got angry when activist-lawyer Indira Jaising inferred a possible future order that the apex court may gag the media in the case.

This is not fair to me. This you cannot do.
Justice Dipak Misra

He asked Jaising to retract and apologise forthwith. She retracted her statement and tendered an apology.

Contentious Arguments on ‘Gag Order’

The Maharashtra government submitted that a discreet probe into Judge Loya’s death had already been conducted with permission of the Chief Justice of the Bombay High Court. When submitting the documents relating to the case, they asked that these documents be kept confidential.

Senior advocates Dushyant Dave and Indira Jaising argued against this, saying it would amount to a gag order on the media. A heated discussion followed in which Justice Khanwilkar said that it wasn’t correct to discuss matters which are sub-judice.

Dave argued that one “cannot stop the nation from discussing” it, and that there was no such restriction on reporting on the cases against Chidambaram.

Amidst heated arguments over the involvement of Amit Shah in the matter, the CJI noted that he had not passed any gag order, and was hurt that the lawyers had inferred that the Court had.

SC Transfers Bombay HC Petitions

The Bench had directed that the petitions before the Bombay High Court, asking for inquiries into Judge Loya’s death, should also be brought before the Supreme Court. “The spirit of objectivity should guide us,” stated the apex court.

In addition, SC ordered that no other court shall entertain any petition on the matter further. SC asked all parties to catalogue documents in Loya's matter, which have not been filed so far and submit them, PTI reported. SC further added that no aspersions should be cast on BJP president Amit Shah, who is not a party before it.

Harish Salve told Dave that “one cannot jump three steps and pass comments at Amit Shah” because he is a “prominent politician,” the Hindu tweeted.

SC says matter raises "serious issues" and that "we will look at it dispassionately.” The apex court will examine the documents on the date of hearing which has been scheduled to 2 February, PTI reported.

Judge Loya died of Cardiac Arrest, Submits Senior Advocate Harish Salve

Senior lawyer Harish Salve in his official submission, says Judge Loya died of cardiac arrest. However, Dushyant Dave says Salve can’t appear in this matter since he appeared for BJP President Amit Shah in various proceedings related to Sohrabuddin Sheikh Case.

But Justice Chandrachud said that all parties should file whatever they have as complete records need to be seen in the death of a judicial officer, Live Law tweeted.

“This is a serious matter, we have seen all the news paper reports - we would like to see all the records, you do as per your conscience, several newspapers are telling us that there are circumstances , so we have to look at the issue seriously,” said Justice Chandrachud.

Three-Judge Bench Led by CJI Begin Hearing

The three-judge bench, headed by the CJI, began hearing the Judge Loya case with heated arguments in the courtroom.

Government of Maharashtra submits documents related to Judge Loya case in a sealed cover. Dushyant Dave appears for Bombay Lawyers Association, which filed the PIL in Bombay High Court. He said that there are more documents should have been submitted and the apex court should hear the matter now.

Court allows them to present the documents.

Bombay HC To Hear PIL Seeking CBI Direction in Sohrabuddin Case on 23 Jan

The Bombay High Court will hear the PIL filed on 23 January, seeking direction to CBI to challenge the discharge order of Amit Shah given by Special CBI Court in Sohrabuddin Sheikh case, ANI reported.

A three-judge Supreme Court bench – comprising Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra and Justices AM Khanwilkar and DY Chandrachud – has resumed hearing two PILs seeking an independent probe into Judge BH Loya’s death.

Snapshotclose

  • The hearing in Judge BH Loya’s case resumes on Friday, 9 February
  • Activist Tehseen Poonawalla and a journalist from Maharashtra, BS Lone, are the petitioners in the case
  • Petitions were filed in the top court after Judge Loya’s family alleged his death was unnatural
  • In its 22 January hearing, the SC dubbed the issues raised by the pleas as “serious”
KEY EVENT

Court Proceedings So Far

The Judge BH Loya case had initially come up for hearing before a bench comprising Justices Arun Mishra and MM Shantanagoudar. However, Justice Mishra had, on 16 January, recused himself of the case and ordered the matter to be listed before an appropriate bench. He had not fixed any specific date for hearing.

The top court had left it to the Maharashtra government to decide which documents relating to the special CBI judge’s death could be handed over to the petitioners.

The state government, which had filed documents related to his death in a sealed cover, had during hearing opposed the petitioners' demand that the entire material be handed over to them for perusal.

A new three-member bench assigned to the case would be headed by Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra. 
KEY EVENT

Unanswered Questions Loom Over Judge Loya's "Mysterious Death"

Judge Brijgopal Harkishan Loya, 48, died in Nagpur in December 2014, while hearing the politically sensitive Sohrabuddin Sheikh fake encounter case.

Earlier in 2017, Judge Loya's relatives raised suspicions over his death. In an interview to The Caravan magazine, his sister Anuradha Biyani had cited that bloodstains were visible on his clothes, while a relative alleged that the deceased judge was offered a bribe. But the police and a judge who were with Judge Loya during his last hours refuted the family's claims. His son, Anuj Loya, said the matter was being politicised and no suspicions should be raised regarding his death.

Later, activist Tehseen Poonawala and a journalist from Maharashtra, BS Lone, filed petitions in the Supreme Court, seeking an independent inquiry into his death. The Maharashtra government has also submitted the post-mortem details and a 50-page intelligence report as documents regarding the death of Judge Loya.

But several other discrepancies in the events that followed his death have quite inadvertently led to a constitutional crisis in the country.

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