New Delhi: The Bombay Lawyers Association (BLA) approached the Supreme Court on Monday seeking a review of its 19 April order dismissing a batch of petitions that sought an independent investigation into the circumstances surrounding judge Brijgopal Harkishan Loya’s death.
Seeking to set aside the top courts’ dismissal order, the petitioners claim it to be “manifestly wrong" and one that has resulted in “miscarriage of justice".
“The Hon’ble court, with respect, has committed error apparent on the face of the record and/or without sufficient reason discarded the Caravan articles overlooking the fact that the initiation of enquiry raised serious doubts about its independence and integrity," the review petition stated.
Claiming that the judgment be recalled as it suffers from serious infirmities, the petitioner added: “The judgment proceeds and relies virtually entirely on the statement of the judges who were with judge Loya at the time of his death. But the court ought to have allowed the petitioner association to cross-examine persons who have given their statements to the commissioner intelligence."
On 19 April, a ruling by a three-judge bench comprising Chief Justice Dipak Misra and A.M. Khanwilkar and D.Y. Chandrachud held, “There is no reason for the court to doubt the clear and consistent statements of the four judicial officers. The documentary material on the record indicates that the death of judge Loya was due to natural causes."
Judge Loya died in December 2014 while presiding over the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) court hearing the high-profile case on the killing of Sohrabuddin Sheikh in a staged encounter with the police in 2005.
The judge’s death—which followed complaints of chest pain—became controversial after his family members alleged foul play in a magazine article published last year.
In their ruling the court also expressed anguish over the petitioners’ claims, calling them a serious attempt to “scandalize and obstruct the judicial process".
It would be a “travesty of justice" to malign the image of judges of the Bombay high court who were present with Loya before his death, it was added.
The court expressed “disbelief" over what it said was a misuse of public interest litigations to achieve vested interests for business, personal or political agendas, preventing the judiciary from attending to important matters.
According to the documents submitted to the court, four judicial officers who accompanied Loya to the hospital after he complained of chest pain have denied any foul play in their statements.