NEW DELHI: Declining to order a fresh probe into the death of special CBI judge BH Loya, the Supreme Court on Thursday said the judiciary must continue to perform its duty even if it is not to be palatable to some. Terming the PIL a ‘case in point’, the bench pulled up senior advocates who were appearing for various petitioners. Five petitioners, including activist Tehseen Poonawala and journalist Bandhuraj Lone, had moved the Supreme Court seeking a fresh probe into Loya’s death.
Senior advocate Dushant Dave was reprimanded for not believing in the judicial officer and casting aspersion on the administrative committee of the Bombay High Court. Similarly, senior advocate Indira Jaising was chastised for requesting the court to issue contempt notices to the administrative committee of the Bombay High Court.
Even the judges hearing the case hadn’t been spared, the bench said, adding that senior advocate Prashant Bhushan had argued that the bench of Justices Khanwilkar and Chandrachud were from the Bombay High Court and may have known the judicial officer who submitted statements.The judgment rebuked Prashant Bhushan ‘for adopting a dual mantle, assuming the character of a counsel for intervener and an individual personally interested on behalf of the intervening organisation of which he is a member’.
“We informed Prashant Bhushan that a decision as to whether a judge should hear a case is a matter of conscience for the judge. There is absolutely no ground or basis to recuse. Judges of the High Court hear intra court appeals against orders of their own colleagues,” the bench further stated. “The conduct of the petitioners and the intervenors scandalises the process of the court and prima facie constitutes criminal contempt,” it said, adding that they (judges) chose not to invoke proceedings stating that the credibility of the judicial process was based on its moral authority and not due to fear of the coercive contempt law.
SC says judgment copy not leaked
Clarifying about the ‘leak’ of judgment copy, the Supreme Court said as the official website was down because of technical issues, it was decided to dispense the soft copy to media persons and other concerned parties if anyone requests for the same from the copying branch of the court. The website was later accessible.