The Daily Fix

The Daily Fix: Far from settling doubts, Supreme Court’s Loya decision only raises more questions

Everything you need to know for the day (and a little more).

The Big Story: Wrong turn

The Supreme Court on Thursday dismissed all the petitions demanding an inquiry into the death of Special Judge BH Loya, who, when he passed away in 2014, had been hearing the Sohrabuddin Sheikh fake encounter case in which Bharatiya Janata Party president Amit Shah was accused. In a series of reports beginning in November 2017, Caravan magazine reported on concerns raised by Loya’s family about the circumstances that surrounded the judge’s death and the pressure he allegedly faced to deliver a favourable decision in the case. Despite a number of serious discrepancies in the official record regarding his death, the Supreme Court dismissed the requests for an investigation, claiming that those asking for one had political motives.

The Supreme Court’s order attempts to deal with a number of the questions that had been raised over the course of the hearings, and in the reportage about the case over the last year. But it is unable to conclusively answer all of them. The order itself makes some confusing decisions, such as privileging the evidence of one judge over another, ignoring potentially contradictory pieces of evidence and casting doubts over some of Caravan’s reportage, even though the judges did not attempt to access all of the material that the magazine had.

The most prickly portion of the order comes at points where the petitioners ask questions about the statements of four judges who had accompanied Loya on a trip to Nagpur for a wedding, and were with him when he complained of chest pain. Where doubts are raised about the nature of these statements as well as contradictions they contain, the Supreme Court chose to see an attack on the judiciary itself. “By casting unfounded aspersions on the judicial officers who had accompanied Judge Loya, the petitioners have revealed the real motive of these proceedings which is to bring the judiciary into disrepute on the basis of scurrilous allegation,” the court said.

Indeed, one of the main conclusions of the judgment is that this was a misuse of public interest litigation. The court spoke about “frivolous or motivated petitions” coming in the way of the long list of pending cases where the personal liberty of citizens is involved. “Worse still,” the order says, “such petitions pose a grave danger to the credibility of the judicial process. This has the propensity of endangering the credibility of other institutions and undermining public faith in democracy and the rule of law.”

There was some irony to this. After all, this is the same court, that has taken years to listen to the Aadhaar case, even though a question of fundamental rights is at stake. The decision also misjudges the question of what actually poses a “danger to the credibility of the judicial process”.

At a time when Indians are discussing matters like the Kalikho Pul diary and the Medical Council of India bribery scam, both of which include serious allegations about the senior judiciary, and just months after four senior Supreme Court judges held an unprecedented press conference questioning the conduct of the Chief Justice of India – with one of those four affirming that the Loya case was a trigger – the credibility of the judicial process is already under question.

Moreover, the court misses the wood for the trees to claim that the judiciary is being attacked by petitioners questioning the statements of the four judges who were with Loya in Nagpur. After all, the reason for raising doubts is the suspicious death of a senior judge, certainly a more disturbing situation than simply asking questions of other judges. Above all, one cannot look at the Loya case without considering the matter that led to all of this: the Sohrabuddin Sheikh fake encouter case, where just this week the number of witnesses turning hostile has reached 50.

Even if there was nothing underhand about Judge Loya’s death, an investigation would have settled the doubts of the family, who said after the verdict on Thursday that “there is no hope left”. It would have helped resolve a number of discrepancies that remain in the official record. It would have quelled the doubts raised by Justice J Chelameshwar and his three brother judges about the actions of the Chief Justice. It would have reassured district judges that one among their fraternity cannot die in suspicious circumstances without the matter being looked into with utmost seriousness.

The Supreme Court judges who ruled on the Loya matter are being optimistic if they believe their decision will settle doubts, both about the case as well as the judicial process.

The Big Scroll

Giggle

Don’t miss

Mridula Chari tells you the story of the terrorist Omar who has inspired the Rajkummar Rao-starrer Omerta.

“It is straight out of Homeland. A British-born Muslim of Pakistani origin joins an Islamic aid expedition in Bosnia at 19, drops out of the London School of Economics to join a militant training camp in Afghanistan, serves jail time in India and by 28 is sentenced to death in Pakistan for his role in the kidnapping and execution of an American journalist.

This is the seemingly improbable life of Ahmed Omar Saeed Sheikh, a British citizen who has been directly involved in several high-profile terrorist cases, including the kidnapping in 1994 of three Britons and an American in Delhi, the 1999 hijacking of Air India flight IC-814 and the execution in Pakistan of Wall Street Journal correspondent Daniel Pearl in 2002.

Sheikh has previously been depicted by British actor Alyy Khan in A Mighty Heart (2007). The terrorist is now set to get the Bollywood treatment in Hansal Mehta’s upcoming Omerta, starring Rajkummar Rao. An initial promotional photograph, with references to 9/11 and the kidnapping of an American, suggests that the biopic is likely to touch on Sheikh’s role in kidnapping Pearl.”

Support our journalism by subscribing to Scroll+ here. We welcome your comments at letters@scroll.in.
Sponsored Content BY 

Can a colour encourage creativity and innovation?

The story behind the universally favoured colour - blue.

It was sought after by many artists. It was searched for in the skies and deep oceans. It was the colour blue. Found rarely as a pigment in nature, it was once more precious than gold. It was only after the discovery of a semi-precious rock, lapis lazuli, that Egyptians could extract this rare pigment.

For centuries, lapis lazuli was the only source of Ultramarine, a colour whose name translated to ‘beyond the sea’. The challenges associated with importing the stone made it exclusive to the Egyptian kingdom. The colour became commonly available only after the invention of a synthetic alternative known as ‘French Ultramarine’.

It’s no surprise that this rare colour that inspired artists in the 1900s, is still regarded as the as the colour of innovation in the 21st century. The story of discovery and creation of blue symbolizes attaining the unattainable.

It took scientists decades of trying to create the elusive ‘Blue Rose’. And the fascination with blue didn’t end there. When Sir John Herschel, the famous scientist and astronomer, tried to create copies of his notes; he discovered ‘Cyanotype’ or ‘Blueprints’, an invention that revolutionized architecture. The story of how a rugged, indigo fabric called ‘Denim’ became the choice for workmen in newly formed America and then a fashion sensation, is known to all. In each of these instances of breakthrough and innovation, the colour blue has had a significant influence.

In 2009, the University of British Columbia, conducted tests with 600 participants to see how cognitive performance varies when people see red or blue. While the red groups did better on recall and attention to detail, blue groups did better on tests requiring invention and imagination. The study proved that the colour blue boosts our ability to think creatively; reaffirming the notion that blue is the colour of innovation.

When we talk about innovation and exclusivity, the brand that takes us by surprise is NEXA. Since its inception, the brand has left no stone unturned to create excusive experiences for its audience. In the search for a colour that represents its spirit of innovation and communicates its determination to constantly evolve, NEXA created its own signature blue: NEXA Blue. The creation of a signature color was an endeavor to bring something exclusive and innovative to NEXA customers. This is the story of the creation, inspiration and passion behind NEXA:

Play

To know more about NEXA, see here.

This article was produced by the Scroll marketing team on behalf of NEXA and not by the Scroll editorial team.