The Supreme Court on Monday, 19 February, said that it was treating the case of special judge BH Loya’s death with “utmost seriousness”.
Questioning the court’s reluctance to issue notice to Maharashtra, Senior Advocate Dushyant Dave appearing for Bombay Lawyers Association said the statements of the four lower court judges who had had accompanied Loya to the hospital before his death were “concocted”.
The Maharashtra government had, on 12 February, told the apex court that the statements of four judges, who were with special CBI judge BH Loya on the last day of his life and had termed his death as "natural", were "unimpeachable".
To this, the bench observed, “Affidavits will not improve your case. We are looking at present whether section 174 of CrPC was complied with or not.”
“We have asked questions to you (Dave) as well as Mr (Mukul) Rohatgi (appearing for Maharashtra), if any facts arouse suspicion, we will do our duty," the court said, adding that it would factually probe, whether the Maharashtra government complied with rules of the Code of Criminal Procedure, which deals with the judicial enquiry to determine the case of death.
Senior advocate Mukul Rohatgi opposed Dave's contention and said there were no such rules and the writ petitions were dismissed at threshold, even ex-parte, if they do not have merit.
Dave said a serving judge has died and it was a serious matter and if affidavits were not called, justice may not be served. "Just because a person is holding a high legal position, that does not mean he can't file an affidavit," he added.
Loya, who was hearing the high-profile Sohrabuddin Sheikh fake encounter case, had allegedly died of cardiac arrest in Nagpur on 1 December 2014 when he had gone to attend the wedding of a colleague's daughter.
"A member of judicial fraternity has died. We are treating this case with utmost seriousness and considering it as a cause. No matter what is said outside the courtroom, we will be doing our duty. As far as we are concerned, we assure you nobody can stop you (Dave) from arguing this case," the bench, which also comprised Justices AM Khanwilkar and DY Chandrachud, said.
The bench also made it clear to Rohatgi that it would not accept any document or material which has not been served to the petitioners.
(With inputs from PTI)