Loya death case may go to another bench

Maharashtra to decide on sharing details with PIL petitioners

Loya death case may go to another bench

The contentious Loya death case, that triggered four seniormost judges in the Supreme Court to raise a banner of revolt against Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra, might go before another bench.

A bench of Justices Arun Mishra and Mohan M Shantanagoudar, who heard two PILs seeking independent probe into the death of special CBI judge B H Loya, ordered that the matter be "put up before appropriate bench".

The order is an indication that the CJI could assign the case to any other bench as the current combination of the bench does not further want to hear it.  

In its order released on Tuesday evening, the court noted that the Maharashtra government has furnished all the documents, which should be taken on record. The court also left it to the discretion of the Maharashtra government whether to share the documents with PIL petitioners.

"Let the documents be placed on record within seven days and if it is considered appropriate, copies be  furnished to the petitioners. Put up before the appropriate Bench," the order passed by the bench stated.

The court did not fix the next date of hearing.

Congress sympathiser Tehseen Poonawalla and Maharashtra-based journalist Bandhuraj Sambhaji Lone have filed two separate PILs seeking independent probe into the death of Loya on December 1, 2014.

The Maharashtra government, represented by senior advocate Harish Salve, furnished the documents, also containing the post-mortem report, in a sealed envelope.

Confidential

Appearing for the petitioners, senior advocate Pallav Sisodia and advocate Varinder Kumar Sharma submitted that they wanted to go through the documents. Salve, for his part, said some of the documents were confidential, which can be provided to the petitioners on condition that they would not be made public.

"It is a matter where they (petitioners) should know everything," the bench observed.

The allocation of PILs to the Justice Misra-led bench was cited as one of the reasons by the four judges for their public outburst on January 12 against arbitrary allocation of cases by the Chief Justice to handpicked benches.

Loya, 48, had died of cardiac arrest when he went to attend the marriage ceremony of his colleague's daughter on December 1, 2014, but his family members raised suspicion over the death in a series of news reports by a magazine. The judge was hearing the Sohrabuddin Sheikh encounter case. BJP president Amit Shah and senior police officers, who were accused in the encounter case, were subsequently discharged.

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