Supreme Court rejects petitions urging investigation into death of Justice BH Loya

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Justice Loya mysteriously died in 2014 while a case pertaining to the fake encounter killing of Sohrabuddin Sheikh was pending in the CBI court in which BJP president Amit Shah was an accused. The Supreme Court bench was headed by Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra and other two judges - Justice AM Khanwilkar and Justice DY Chandrachud.

Justice Chandrachud, writing the judgment for the Bench, said, "We must lean in favour of the version of the four judicial officers unless strong and indisputable circumstances are shown to doubt their credibility".

Surjewala said the issue of criminality in the case, or its lack thereof can only be decided through an investigation. Singh also said that the apex court's order had also raised serious questions on the intention of filing such PILs. Judges of the Supreme Court hear appeals arising from judgments rendered by judges of the high courts in which they served, either as judges or on appointments as Chief Justices. "There is no reason for the court to doubt the clear and consistent statements of the four judicial officers", the court said.

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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. Several reports have questioned the sudden and "mysterious" death of judge Loya. The apex court said the judge died of natural causes while rejecting petitions that cast a cloud over reasons of his demise and sought an independent probe. He also said that petition had personal interest, not public interest.

Loya's death had come under spotlight in November, 2017 after his sister came out in public, raising suspicion about the circumstances surrounding it and its link to the Sohrabuddin case.

Judge Loya, who was hearing the Sohrabuddin Sheikh encounter case in which BJP President Amit Shah was an accused, died of a heart attack in 2014.

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"For sometime, a few people were trying to politicise the judiciary".

The top court, which was critical of the petitioners and their lawyers for casting insinuations against the judicial officers and judges, said an attempt was made to cause prejudice against them and was a "vituperative assault on the judiciary". He said, "The real face of Congress Party and Rahul Gandhi has been exposed". He said when the Supreme Court had not heeded noted lawyers like Prashant Bhushan, "then what is our standing?" It was Rahul Gandhi.

Earlier, Maharashtra's Journalist B.N. Lone and Tehseen Poonawalla filed a petition in Supreme Court to initiate an independent probe in this matter.

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Spokespersons Sambit Patra and Gaurav Bhatia addressed one of them, held immediately after the verdict was announced.

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