SC rejection of probe doesn’t serve justice

Judge Loya was hearing the Sohrabuddin Sheikh fake encounter case in which BJP president Amit Shah was an accused. (PTI file photo)

The Supreme Court’s judgement rejecting the demand to set up an independent probe into the death of judge BH Loya in Nagpur in 2014 does not answer all the questions raised about the death in the petitions and in the public sphere. Judge Loya was a judicial officer in Maharashtra who was hearing the Sohrabuddin Sheikh fake encounter case in which BJP president Amit Shah was an accused. He died in Nagpur in circumstances that are considered to be controversial when he was on a personal visit there on December 1, 2014. The judge who succeeded Loya discharged Amit Shah from the case. Loya’s death became a matter of debate when some questions were raised about it in a media report last year. These reports had quoted some family members of Loya stating that they had doubts about the death and mentioned some inconsistencies and contradictions in the accounts of the death and in the medical reports. Some relatives have since then stated that they do not have any doubts, but some others have not.

The court has strongly criticised the petitioners and the lawyers, saying they have misused the public interest litigation facility to promote their personal and political agenda. it has also found serious contempt of court issues in the conduct of some senior lawyers in the court. The court found no reason to disbelieve the statements of four judicial officers who were with Loya and asserted that his death was natural. The Maharashtra government was also said to have ordered a “discreet” inquiry which ruled out any suspicious circumstances in the death. The court has put a lid on the matter saying that no more petitions will be entertained about it in future.

But the judgement does not serve the ends of justice and may not be taken to be a well-considered decision. Some of the issues raised about the death still remain and some new issues have arisen. It is difficult to look at the Loya case in isolation from the Sohrabuddin encounter trial in which questionable decisions have been taken and very odd things have taken place, including the reversal of positions of many witnesses. The Loya case is important because the name of the leader of the country’s largest political party is indirectly mentioned in its context. Amit Shah may be innocent, but the petitions were only for an inquiry which would prove it. It should also be noted that four senior-most judges of the Supreme Court had mentioned the Loya case in their public statement in January. The judgement calls for a review, because justice should also be seen to have been done.

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SC rejection of probe doesn’t serve justice

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