The Bombay Lawyers’ Association has approached the Supreme Court seeking a review of its judgement dismissing pleas for an independent investigation into the death of Central Bureau of Investigation judge Brijgopal Harkishan Loya, The Indian Express reported.
The Bombay Lawyers’ Association was one of the petitioners. “We filed the review petition in the Supreme Court in the Loya death case within the stipulated 30 days of the judgement in the case,” its president, Ahmad Abdi, told The Pioneer on Sunday. “We expect the apex court to take up our petition after the summer vacation.”
At the time of his death on December 1, 2014, Loya was handling the Sohrabuddin Sheikh encounter case, in which Bharatiya Janata Party President Amit Shah was an accused. Shah was later discharged in the case. Suspicions were raised about whether Loya’s death was natural after The Caravan published a report in November 2017, in which members of the judge’s family raised a number of questions around the circumstances of his death and said that he had been under pressure at the time.
The top court said in its verdict on April 19 that there was no reason to not believe the judicial officers who were present with Loya at the time of his death. It accused the petitioners of trying to “malign the judiciary” and called their petitions “scandalous and amounting to criminal contempt”.
Senior advocate Dushyant Dave filed the petition on behalf of the association. In the plea, he urged the court to delete its findings that called the petitions a “veiled attempt to launch a frontal attack on the independence of the judiciary and to dilute the credibility of judicial institutions”.
Dave said the verdict had resulted in a “miscarriage of justice if not a complete negation of justice on the facts of the case”.
The lawyers’ body told the court that it did not want to sensationalise the case. “On the contrary, the whole attempt of the petitioner association was to reassure the entire judiciary that the association would stand behind every judge in times of challenge in his or her life,” it said. “The effort was for an independent inquiry to reassure all the members of the judiciary and nothing more. If the inquiry was ordered as prayed for and if it found that judge Loya had indeed died of heart attack it would have set all doubts to rest but it would have sent a strong message to the judiciary and to the country that individuals are willing to stand up for the judiciary and not desert it in time of challenge.”
The Bombay Lawyers’ Association also questioned the discreet inquiry report on the judge’s death that the Maharashtra Police’s commissioner of intelligence had prepared, and reiterated that it was an attempt to pre-empt a truly independent investigation.