The petitions seeking a probe into special CBI judge BH Loya's death were opposed by the Maharashtra government.
New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Friday reserved its verdict on a batch of petitions seeking an independent probe into the death of former CBI Judge BH Loya, even as the Maharashtra government strongly opposed any such probe.
A three-judge bench of Chief Justice Dipak Misra and Justices AM Khanwilkar and DY Chandrachud reserved its verdict on the conclusion of marathon arguments spreading over nearly two months.
At the outset senior counsel Mukul Rohatgi, appearing for Maharashtra said the petitions are politically motivated as all their attention is towards one politician (BJP President Amit Shah).
He said “Apart from politics, there is nothing amiss in the death of Loya.”
Rohatgi said, “These petitions are filed for extraneous petitions with oblique motive. The unfortunate death of judge Loya is sought to be politicised. Their real intention is not for a probe into the death of the judge. The arguments of protection of rule of law, independence of judiciary are all a façade to justify their demands for a probe.”
Rohatgi also pointed out that there was not even a whisper by any of these petitioners, Bombay Advocates Association, Congress leader Tehseen Poonawala or journalist Bhandhuraj Lone till Caravan magazine raised a suspicion about Loya’s death based on wrong facts. The article was completely baseless without verification of facts.
He said four district judges who were present with Loya from November 29 till the afternoon of December 1, 2014 had given statements as to how the Judge died of heart attack in the early hours of December 1, 2014. There are medical records to show that despite resuscitation, he could not be revived. Post mortem was conducted as Loya was brought dead on way to the hospital.
Rohatgi wondered as to how this court could disbelieve the statement of four subordinate judges, who are colleagues of Loya and when he had died on their lap. Unless this court is prima facie satisfied that the four judges (two of them are now Judges of the Bombay High Court) were conspirators in the death of Loya no further probe can be ordered.
He said, “If you (court) order an enquiry then the four judges will have to give statements under Section 161 CrPC as if their earlier statements are to be doubted.
Cautioning the court from ordering any such probe, Rohatgi said even one word from the top judiciary, instead of protecting the institution would cause damage to the institution. The petitioners have whipped up a kind of frenzy to keep up the propaganda, as their idea is to keep the pot boiling.
Rohatgi said the Commissioner of State Intelligence Department conducted a discreet enquiry and the state government was satisfied that no further probe was necessary. He said the unimpeachable evidence of the four judges is enough to show that Loya died of heart attack and “there is no reason to disbelieve their evidence.”
He said all these petitions were filed only after the article in Caravan magazine in November last year. This article is completely false and by this irresponsible article the magazine had done immense damage to the judiciary, he added.
Senior counsel Harish Salve, representing Maharashtra government, had earlier said if any such enquiry is ordered it would mean that the four subordinate judges who were with Loya during his death are conspirators in a murder.
He regretted that the petitioners could go to the level of targeting one man (Amit Shah) and “say that the entire judicial system dances to the tune of this man. This is really sad for the judiciary.”
Salve had said, “If the Supreme court orders a probe the four judges will be guilty of conspiracy to murder and people will say `oh this man who is probed for murder is hearing our case.”
“The judicial system is robust enough to deal with such allegations but the Supreme Court should not order any such enquiry against subordinate judges who are the most vulnerable sections in society, as they cannot openly go to the public. If an enquiry is ordered the judicial system will stand condemned for ever,” he added.