NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court on Thursday dismissed PIL seeking inquiry into death of judicial officer B H Loya in December 2014, at a time when he was trying Sohrabuddin fake encounter case in which BJP leader Amit Shah was an accused.
The judgement was delivered by a three judge bench of Chief Justice Dipak Misra and Justices A M Khanwilkar and D Y Chandrachud.
Justice D Y Chandrachud, who has penned down the judgement says the PIL was barest of any truth and was an attempt to malign the judiciary.
Holding that there is no merit in the petition, the court said that, “Judge Loya died a natural death and there was not a shred of doubt about it.”
READ | Judge Loya case: A timeline
SC said petitioners launched a frontal attack on judiciary by telling the court to disbelieve four judicial officers who accompanied Loya to Nagpur, stayed with him at a guest house and said Loya died of an heart attack.
Supreme Court rules that the death of Judge Loya was due to natural causes and there is no reason to doubt the statements of 4 judicial officers who corroborated this fact @NewIndianXpress— kanusarda (@sardakanu_TNIE) April 19, 2018
Refraining itself from issuing contempt notice to petitioners, the bench said, “It would have been ideal to initiate contempt proceedings against petitioner in such a case where a political rivalry is brought to court to malign judiciary. Courts are not the place to settle business or political rivalry, which should be fought in markets or in elections.”
“PILs, which were meant to provide succour to downtrodden and voiceless, have now become an industry to settle business and political rivalry,” the bench observed.
The judgement said even two judges of the Supreme Court bench which heard the petitions were not spared by the petitioners and serious attacks were also made on the credibility of two Bombay High Court judges.
Maharashtra-based journalist B S Lone and activist Tehseen Poonavala had filed independent pleas seeking a fair probe into the death of Judge Loya, who was hearing the Sohrabuddin Sheikh fake encounter case, involving various police officers and Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) president Amit Shah.
Loya 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.
Judge Loya’s son Anuj Loya has said the family no longer has any suspicion about the death. “There was some suspicion before due to emotional turmoil, but now it is clear,” Anuj Loya told reporters in January.
On 8 March 2018, the Supreme Court had taken exception to a remark by senior lawyer Dushyant Dave that the judges were posing searching questions only to those who brought the B H Loya death case before it and not to the Maharashtra government.
A bench comprising Chief Justice Dipak Misra and Justices A M Khanwilkar and D Y Chandrachud said that judges were guided by their conscience and heart in delivering justice and they did not need any certificate from anyone.
The Maharashtra government told the top court that the petitions that sought an independent probe are motivated. The case had become a rallying point for Opposition parties, which said that there was a threat to democracy when lawyers and judges working on important cases were targeted.
Congress president Rahul Gandhi met President Ram Nath Kovind with a group of lawmakers, asking for an independent investigation into judge Loya’s death.
(With inputs from agencies)