Judge Loya’s Death ‘Natural’, Rules Out Independent Probe: SC

Supreme Court

The Supreme Court on Thursday, 19 April, dismissed petitions seeking independent probe into the death of special CBI judge Brijgopal Harkishan Loya, who was hearing the high-profile Sohrabuddin Sheikh fake encounter case. The Supreme Court judgment slammed the petitioners for “maligning” the judiciary.

Judge Loya died allegedly due to a cardiac arrest in Nagpur on 1 December 2014 when he had gone to attend the wedding of a colleague’s daughter.

The Supreme Court today dismissed a batch of petitions seeking an independent inquiry into the death of special CBI Judge Brijgopal Harkishan Loya, who was hearing the Sohrabuddin Sheikh encounter case.

A three-judge bench comprising of Chief Justice Dipak Misra, and Justices AM Khanwilkar and DY Chandrachud said there is no merit in the petitions while expressing their anguish at the conduct of the counsel for the petitioners. The bench had reserved the judgment on the pleas on March 16.

The petitioners—including Congress leader Tehseen Poonawala and Maharashtra-based journalist Bandhuraj Sambhaji Lone—had contended that the events of that day raise some suspicion, and therefore, sought an independent inquiry to ensure a fair probe of the incident.

The Maharashtra government had argued in the apex court that all pleas seeking an independent probe into Loya’s death were motivated and aimed at targeting “one individual” in the guise of upholding the rule of law.

Mukul Rohatgi, counsel for the state and former attorney general of India, said there was no merit in the petitions and these were “motivated by collateral purposes”.