Judge Loya Judgment Utterly Wrong: Ex-Delhi Chief Justice AP Shah

Shah criticised the Judge Loya case judgment, terming the verdict a ‘sort of an acquittal.’

3 min read
AP Shah speaks at the release of Arun Shourie’s book “Anita Gets Bail” in New Delhi on Tuesday, 1 May.

Addressing the launch of a book penned by former union minister Arun Shourie, former Delhi High Court chief Justice AP Shah on Tuesday, 1 May, termed the recent verdict of apex court on the death of special CBI judge BH Loya as "utterly wrong and judicially incorrect".

Referring to the Judge Loya case, where the apex court had recently dispensed judgment, turning down requests for an independent inquiry, Shah said:

The judgment – in my opinion – is utterly wrong, and jurisprudentially incorrect on so very many counts.

Read the full text of Justice AP Shah’s speech here.

Ex-CJI Lodha Calls Prevailing Situation in Judiciary ‘Disastrous’

Former chief justice of India RM Lodha termed the prevailing situation in the apex court "disastrous," and said though the CJI was the master of roster, the allocation of cases had to be "fair and in the interest of the institution.”

Asserting that the "independence of judiciary is non-negotiable,” Justice Lodha said it was for the CJI to take the institution forward by showing "statesmanship qualities" and taking his colleagues together.

The phase we are seeing at the Supreme Court today is, to say the least, disastrous. It is high time that collegiality is restored. The judges, though with their different approaches and different view points, must find a common ground that takes the Supreme Court forward. That maintains the independence of judiciary.
RM Lodha, former CJI

“How is Asking for Investigation An Attack on Judiciary”

Justice Shah said that the apex court in its verdict had called it a veiled attempt to attack on the judiciary and asked "How is asking for an investigation an attack on the judiciary?"

Adding that much of the judgment had instead attacked the motivations of the petitioners, Shah further blamed the court for not having analysed the use of PIL as an instrument in this case.

Recounting how the petition filed after the Bombay Lawyers’ Association’s PIL was routed to the Supreme Court, so as to avoid bring the Bombay High Court into the loop, Shah said:

If at all anything is evident from the facts and circumstances of the case, it is that the petition that came to the Supreme Court was a motivated petition, and unfortunately, the Supreme Court could not see through this.

Shah then criticised the apex court’s conduct with regard to the Judge Loya case judgment, terming the verdict a ‘sort of an acquittal’.

What in fact transpired is that the Supreme Court acted as a Court of Appeal, and granted a sort of an acquittal, without the benefit of the judgment of a trial court.

Also slamming the court for taking the statements of the four judges who had accompanied Loya to Nagpur at face value, Shah said:

More problematically, the Supreme Court has evolved a whole new jurisprudence regarding the statement of a judge. It says that the statements of judicial officers should be accepted on the face of it, as their statements have a “ring of truth” about them… It is as if judges are to be treated as superhuman, as beings who are not capable of telling untruths.

Shah further hit out at the Supreme Court bench for having dismissed the fact that the said four judges could not be cross-examined as ‘mere technicalities’.

The cross examination is regarded in criminal law, and in international convention, as the most powerful weapon to get at the truth. And our Supreme Court calls it a mere technicality? We should be very very worried.

Shah then concurs with lawyer and legal commentator Alok Prasanna Kumar, who, after the judgment, had said – it seems the court was not interested in finding the truth.

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