The petitions demanding an independent probe into judge BH Loya’s death are unlikely to be taken up by the Supreme Court on Monday as one of the two judges who heard the matter on Friday is not available.
As per a Supreme Court notice, justice Arun Misra, who heads the bench, will take up chamber matters because justice MN Shantagoudar will not sit on Monday. The cases listed for a hearing that day will get deferred to January 16.
Judge Loya’s case is seen as a flashpoint and the reason for the judges of the top court to publicly accuse the Chief Justice of India for selectively allocating sensitive matters to benches of his choice. Loya died of a cardiac arrest in Nagpur on December 1, 2014, when he had gone to attend the wedding of a colleague’s daughter. He was then hearing the Sohrabuddin encounter case in which various police officers and BJP president Amit Shah were named as parties.
A Mumbai-based journalist, BR Lone, and social activist Tehseen Poonawalla have filed the petition for impartial probe into the death.
It is said the four judges had tried to persuade the CJI on Friday morning to delete and reassign the cases that were listed before the judge — ranked 10th in terms of seniority. The judges decided to address the media after they were told it was not possible to meet their demand at the last moment.
Warning that democracy was at stake, the four senior judges admitted one of the concerns they had was with regard to allocation of judge Loya’s case.
“Four of us went to the CJI today with a request that a particular thing is not in order and it should be rectified. Despite our request, he did not do anything,” justice J Chelameswar told the mediapersons on Friday, without mentioning the Loya case. When asked whether this request was in connection with the Loya case, his colleague justice Ranjan Gogoi admitted that it was.
After hearing the petitions briefly on Friday, justice Misra’s bench had asked the counsel for Maharashtra to get instructions. No formal notice was issued to the state. The court heard the petitioners despite being informed that Bombay HC was looking into it.