New Delhi, Jan 22: The Supreme Court on Monday will hear the pleas seeking an independent probe into the mysterious death of special CBI judge BH Loya. The development comes after on January 19, the top court directed listing of petitions before “an appropriate bench”. Also Read - Sudarshan TV Row: 'Free Speech, Not Hatred,' Supreme Court Says Media Self-regulation System Toothless
A bench of Chief Justice Dipak Misra and Justices AM Khanwilkar and DY Chandrachud said an appropriate bench of the apex court would hear the petitions filed by Congress leader Tehseen Poonawalla and Maharashtra journalist BS Lone. Also Read - 2021 Haridwar Kumbh: In a First, Number of Pilgrims to Be Restricted; Entry Passes to Be Issued
The counsel for the petitioners said they wanted clarification on the date of hearing of the petition in the wake of the order passed by a bench of Justices Arun Mishra and MM Shantanagoudar. “List the matters on January 22, 2018, before the appropriate bench as per the roster,” the CJI’s bench said. [Also read: Please Don’t Harass us, we Don’t Want to be Victims of Politicisation: Justice Loya’s Family] Also Read - Regulate Digital Media First: Centre Tells SC in Affidavit Filed in Response to Pleas Against Sudarshan TV
Earlier on January 16, a bench headed by Justice Arun Mishra ordered the matters to be listed before an appropriate bench and had not fixed any specific date for hearing. It had left it to the Maharashtra government to decide which documents, relating to Loya’s death, could be handed over to the petitioners. [Also read: Rahul Gandhi Demands Proper Investigation Into Justice Loya’s Death, Says Points Raised by SC Judges Need to be Addressed]
The apex court, in its January 16, order said, “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”.
Loya, who was hearing the sensitive Sohrabuddin Sheikh encounter case, 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.
In the encounter case, the BJP President Amit Shah along with Rajasthan Home Minister Gulabchand Kataria, Rajasthan-based businessman Vimal Patni, former Gujarat police chief P C Pande, Additional Director General of Police Geeta Johri and Gujarat police officers Abhay Chudasama and NK Amin, have already been discharged.
The issue of Loya’s death had come under the spotlight in November last year after media reports quoting his sister had fuelled suspicion about the circumstances surrounding his death and its link to the Sohrabuddin case.
On January 14, Loya’s son said in Mumbai that his father died of natural causes and not under suspicious circumstances.
The court had earlier termed as “serious matter” the issue of Loya’s death and had asked Maharashtra government to file certain documents, including the autopsy report.
The counsel for petitioners had told the court that this was a case of alleged mysterious death of a judge, who was hearing a sensitive case, and an independent probe was required.
In his plea, he had claimed that circumstances revolving around the death of the judge were “questionable, mysterious and contradicting”.
The other plea filed by the journalist has submitted that a fair probe was needed into the mysterious death of Loya, who was hearing the Sohrabuddin encounter case in which various police officers and BJP president Amit Shah were named as parties.
A PIL seeking probe into the judge’s death was also filed before the Bombay High Court on January 8 by the Bombay Lawyers’ Association.
The Indian judiciary was thrown into a turmoil on January 12, when four senior apex court judges, Justices J Chelameswar, Ranjan Gogoi, M B Lokur and Kurian Joseph, had convened an unprecedented press conference raising some issues, including “selective” allocation of cases by Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra. The cases indicated by them included this case.
(Inputs from PTI)