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There’s a conspiracy to kill PIL on judge Loya’s mysterious death: Bombay Lawyers’ Association

Ashwin Aghor | Updated on: 13 January 2018, 22:46 IST

The press conference by four senior-most Supreme Court judges on Friday has once again brought the focus on the mysterious death of CBI judge BH Loya.

One of the SC judges, Justice Ranjan Gogoi, admitted during the press conference that the Loya case was one of their issues of concern.

Now the Bombay Lawyers’ Association has alleged that there are efforts to scuttle its Public Interest Litigation (PIL) filed in this regard at the Bombay High Court.

President of the association, Advocate Ahmed Abdi, has alleged that there is a serious conspiracy to kill the Public Interest Litigation in the Bombay High Court so as to facilitate smooth sailing of the PILs filed at the Supreme Court on the same matter.

He said that despite pleas not to continue with hearing of the PILs since a similar case is pending before the Bombay High Court, the SC decided to continue with the hearing. “This is nothing but a clear effort to kill our PIL filed at Bombay High Court. Once SC passes some order, then it will be easy to restrain hearing of the PIL here,” Abdi said.

 “Our petition was affirmed on 4 January. But it was not numbered till 12 January. This has happened for the first time in my life. There had never been such a delay in numbering the petition in the past. It was only after I threatened to lodge an FIR against the Court officials for delaying it. This is very serious and needs to be investigated thoroughly,” he said.

He said it was surprising that things moved so rapidly in the SC and the PIL there was assigned to a bench, immediately after being mentioned.

Supporting the four Supreme Court judges who have taken on the Chief Justice of India, Abdi said that there were serious flaws in the functioning of the judiciary.

“We have been hearing such irregularities for long time. But the judges coming out openly, has shaken everyone. The Supreme Court is not functioning as per the law. Though assigning cases is the discretion of CJI, there are serious doubts about the way the PIL was assigned to a particular bench,” Abdi said, alleging that there is more to the matter than what meets the eye.

The Bombay Lawyers’ Association has decided to intervene in the PIL at the Supreme Court. “We want all the cases pertaining to the death of Judge Loya shifted to Bombay High Court. Since Judge Loya was part of subordinate judiciary of Bombay High Court and the death occurred at Nagpur, it is logical to shift all the cases to Bombay High Court. We want that an inquiry by a retired Supreme Court judge so that the truth is unearthed,” Abdi said, adding that, “It should be an open inquiry to bring the culprits to justice.”

He also said that when the judiciary is taking suo moto cognisance of petty matters like potholes, it is surprising that no judge found this matter worthy enough to note.  

Meanwhile, the hearing of PIL in the Supreme Court that was scheduled on Monday (15 January) has been adjourned as Justice MM Shantanagoudar is not available. The PIL in the matter of mysterious death of CBI Judge BH Loya has been assigned to the bench comprising Justice Arun Mishra and Justice MM Shantanagoudar. The hearing is likely to be adjourned till Tuesday (16 January).

Hearing the matter 12 January, the SC had ordered the government of Maharashtra to submit judge Loya’s autopsy report of. The Apex Court, terming it to be serious matter, ordered the government of Maharashtra to file the report by 15 January.

At the beginning of the hearing, senior advocate Dushyant Dave, who represented Bombay Lawyers’ Association pleaded that since the Bombay High Court is seized of the matter, the Apex Court should refrain from hearing it.

If the hearing continued at the SC, it will affect the proceeding at the Bombay High Court. Senior Advocate Indira Jaising too pleaded the same on behalf of Bombay Lawyers’ Association. She pointed out that the Bombay High Court has already passed two orders in the matter and the matter is listed on 23 January.

CBI Judge BH Loya had reportedly died of cardiac arrest in Nagpur on 1 December 2014 when he had gone there to attend the wedding reception of a colleague’s daughter.  There are two petitions filed at the SC, one by Tehseen Poonawalla and another by one BR Lone. Poonawalla in his petition has claimed that since the matter pertains to mysterious death of Judge BH Loya who was hearing a sensitive case, it needed to be investigated independently. Judge Loya was hearing the case of encounter of Sohrabuddin Sheikh, in which BJP president Amit Shah was an accused.  

First published: 13 January 2018, 22:46 IST