Treating Loya's case with utmost seriousness: SC

Senior counsel Mukul Rohatgi

Treating Loya's case with utmost seriousness: SC

The Supreme Court on Monday said it would order a probe if there was sufficient cause for suspicion related to the death of special CBI judge B.H. Loya, who had been hearing a case in which BJP chief Amit Shah was acquitted within a month of his passing. "If we suspect foul play or our suspicion gets aroused by facts you produce, we will not hesitate to order an inquiry into the matter". While Justice Chandrachud observed, "Any such untoward incident of death has to be seriously looked into by this court". We treat it like a cause.

The observation came after Dave claimed that the counsel representing the petitioners in the case were under "pressure" despite the fact that they were persuing the case forsscom also signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY) to collaborate in fostering, cultivating and strengthening reskilling initiatives.

The bench gave the assurance after Dave, appearing for the Bombay High Court Bar Association, complained that pressure was being exerted on lawyers raising the death and the Bar Council of India (BCI) had issued him a notice asking him to explain his "misconduct" since he was making statements relating to the case in newspapers, TV channels and also in the court.

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On the other hand, senior counsel Dushyant Dave, appearing for petitioner Bombay Lawyers Association (BLA), said that it was odd that Maharashtra government did not order an inquiry immediately after the death of the judge. "If there is some kind of suspicion in this case and calls for an investigation, we will definitely proceed to consider it".

The state has no doubt that the judicial officer died an accidental death.

Judge Loya died of cardiac arrest on December 1, 2014, in Nagpur where he had gone to attend the wedding of a colleague's daughter.

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Dave continued his submission saying that Bombay Lawyers Association is a registered body under the Societies Registration Act and that what more could he do to prove his bona fide on which Chief Justice assured him that his locus and bona fide are not being questioned.

He said during his career, he had never seen such a procedure adopted by the apex court and questioned the court's reluctance to issue notice to Maharashtra. Maharashtra government's counsel Mukul Rohatgi said that the article which was published three years after Loya's death was "motivated". "As far as we are concerned, we assure you [Dave] nobody can stop you from arguing this case".

Dave said that the four judges who have given statements that Judge Loya met a natural end be asked to do so on sworn affidavits.

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The matter will next be heard on March 5.

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