NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court on Thursday dismissed a batch of petitions seeking an independent probe into the death of special CBI judge BH Loya. The apex court said that there is no reason to disbelieve the Judicial Officers in the Judge Loya death case and ruled that investigation reveals that he died of natural causes. The SC also said that frivolous and motivated petitions should be discouraged. The CBI judge was hearing the high-profile Sohrabuddin Sheikh fake encounter case at the time of his death.
While dismissing the petitions the three-judge bench, of Chief Justice Dipak Misra, Justice DY Chandrachud and Justice AM Khanwilkar, also questioned the motive behind the pleas and observed that it was an attack on judicial independence.
In a strongly-worded observation, the SC said that it thought of initiating contempt proceedings against petitioners but decided not to go ahead with it. Criticising the petitioners, the SC said that during the arguments, counsel for petitioners forgot to maintain institutional civility towards judges and made wild allegations. It also observed that courts are not the place to settle business or political rivalry which has to be fought in markets or elections.
A batch of pleas, including those filed by Congress leader Tehseen Poonawala and Maharashtra-based BS Lone, was filed in the top court seeking an independent probe into Judge Loya's death in 2014.
Listing the case for Thursday, the apex court had earlier asked the Maharashtra Government to submit the postmortem report of the late CBI judge. 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.
The issue of Loya's death had come under the spotlight in November 2017 after some reports quoting his sister had fuelled suspicion about the circumstances surrounding it and its link to the alleged Sohrabuddin Sheikh encounter case. But Loya's son had on January 14 said in Mumbai that his father had died of natural causes.
In the alleged Sohrabuddin Sheikh fake encounter case, BJP President Amit Shah along with Rajasthan Home Minister Gulabchand Kataria, Rajasthan-based businessman Vimal Patni, former Gujarat police chief P C Pande, Additional Director General of Police Geeta Johri and Gujarat police officers Abhay Chudasama and N K Amin have already been discharged.
Several accused, including some police personnel, are currently on trial for their involvement in the alleged fake encounter of Sohrabuddin, his wife Kausar Bi and their associate Tulsiram Prajapati in Gujarat in November 2005. The case was transferred to CBI and the trial shifted to Mumbai.