The Supreme Court on Thursday dismissed petitions seeking an independent probe into the death of judge BH Loya, saying the petitions were 'frivolous' and a 'frontal attack' on the judiciary.
According to Live Law the Supreme Court said, "There is no reason to disbelieve the sequence of events leading to the death as narrated by the four judicial officers namely Shrikant Kulkarni, Shriram Modak, R. Rathi and Vijay Kumar Barde and the assertions of Bombay High Court Justices Bhushan Gawai and Sunil Shukre."
The petitions were filed after a story by The Caravan that reported Loya's family suspecting foul play. The editor-in-chief of the magazine has said that they stand by the 22 stories that they published about the case.
Will have to wait till one reads the whole judgment on the specifics. But Caravan magazine stands by each of its 22 stories. The stories speak for itself. And we will follow journalistically the qns that continue to puzzle the circumstances of Judge Loya's death.— Vinod K. Jose (@vinodjose) April 19, 2018
Hartosh Singh Bal, an editor with The Caravan, tweeted saying the facts spoke for themselves irrespective of the judgement.
the pursuit of the law may end at the doors of the Supreme Court, the journalistic quest for the truth doesn't— Hartosh Singh Bal (@HartoshSinghBal) April 19, 2018
Prashant Bhushan, one of the petitioners said on Twitter:
The SC while dismissing the petition seeking independent Investigation into Judge Loya's death, said that "Judges can't lie. Their word must be treated to be the gospel truth. Anyone who questions judges is guilty of contempt"! Judges in their own cause? https://t.co/fIfk7NmcoS— Prashant Bhushan (@pbhushan1) April 19, 2018
Reacting to the verdict, senior advocate Indira Jaising -- who appeared for the inteveners in the case -- took to Twitter saying:
Greatful for small mercies from the Supreme Court of india , Justice Goel and Justice R Nariman referred the Rajesh Sharma case on Section 498A to the Chief Justice of India for reconsideration! This on the day of the Loya judgement . What implications for the SC /ST judgement ?— indira jaising (@IJaising) April 19, 2018
She later said that she stood by all her petitions in the Loya case:
I stand by all submissions made in court by me in the Judge Loya case— indira jaising (@IJaising) April 19, 2018
While Loya is said to have died of a cardiac arrest in 2014, several reports in the last few months have suggested foul play. Loya died while presiding over CBI court hearings in the Sohrabuddin fake encounter case in which BJP president Amit Shah was a main accused. The judge who had replaced Loya ruled that there was not enough evidence against Shah in the case.
According to a report in The Times of India, a bench including CJI Dipak Misra, Justices A M Khanwilkar and D Y Chandrachud said that the barrage of PILs seeking an independent probe in the case was delaying justice in other cases.
Frivolous and motivated petitions should be discouraged: SC #JudgeLoya— Live Law (@LiveLawIndia) April 19, 2018
NDTV reported the court as saying, "Business rivalries to be resolved in market and political rivalries in the hall of democracy. It is the court's duty to protect law."
The Supreme Court is said to have harshly criticised the advocates, Dushyant Dave, Indira Jaising and Prashant Bhushan and said it was a "frontal attack on the judiciary" because the petitions wanted the court to disbelieve the judges who had accompanied Loya to Nagpur.
The court also called the petitions politically motivated and serving a personal agenda.
Attempt of the petitioners was to malign judiciary :SC #JudgeLoya— Live Law (@LiveLawIndia) April 19, 2018
Petitioners tried create an impression that it is for investigation , but it was against judiciary :SC #JudgeLoya— Live Law (@LiveLawIndia) April 19, 2018
Dushyant Dave has gone to the extent of insinuating the judicial officers based on unrelated cases: SC #JudgeLoya— Live Law (@LiveLawIndia) April 19, 2018
Five petitions were filed seeking an independent inquiry into Loya's death after a Caravan story in November 2017 in which Loya's family had alleged they were suspicious about the circumstances under which he had died. They had alleged that the hospital documents could have been tampered with.
Yet another report in March questioned the statements made by the four judges who had accompanied Loya to Nagpur.