Judge Loya's death: Suspicious circumstances warrant independent probe, says lawyers' body

New Delhi, March 5  The Bombay Lawyers Association on Monday told the Supreme Court that the late Judge Loya's family might have been coerced into saying that they do not want fresh probe into his death, but suspicious circumstances surrounding the death of the judge warrants an independent probe. Pointing to "too many coincidences" around the death of Judge Loya, senior counsel Dushyant Dave recounted the sequence of events and told the bench of Chief Justice Dipak Misra, Justice A.M. Khanwilkar and Justice D.Y. Chandrachud that "there is a suspicion around the death of Judge Loya". Dave, who appeared for the Bombay Lawyers Association, raised doubts whether the statement by Judge Loya's family that they do not want any probe into his death was made on their own volition. He referred to a series of recorded interviews given by the late judge's family over a period of eight months and raised questions over the circumstances in which he died because of cardiac arrest. The court was told this in the course of the hearing of a batch of partitions by activists Tehseen Poonawala, Bombay Lawyers Association, Maharashtra-based journalist Bandhuraj Sambhaji Lone and others seeking an independent probe into the Judge Loya's death. Alleging that sitting judges of high court, district judges, state intelligence and the state itself were resisting the plea for an independent probe, Dave said the inquiry report that was before the court was because of an administrative order and not as per any statute. He wondered why the acting Chief Justice of Bombay High Court called Judge Loya's son in her chamber and later a statement was issued, and how two judges gave interview to Indian Express - and with whose permission. He said that the sitting judges were not holy cows. Asserting that entire system was at the beck and call of one man, Dave citing the instances of Justice Patel and Judge Loya said: "Judges who stood in the way have suffered." As Additional Solicitor General Tushar Mehta objected to the remarks by Dave about the judiciary, citing his status as an officer of the court, Dave retorted back saying: "You are not an officer of this court but lawyer for Amit Shah." During the course of hearing, Justice Chandrachud took exception to Dave saying whether the top court was trying to "wish away everything in Judge Loya's case". "We are not wishing away anything. We are also not going to pass bad-faith judgment about the high court and district court judges," said Justice Chandrachud. The court on Monday agreed to hear an intervention application by NGO Centre for Public Interest Litigation (CPIL), saying that Judge Loya had not died due to cardiac failure. Mentioning the intervention application, counsel Prashant Bhushan said that their intervention was based on reply to an RTI application and opinion of two former doctors of All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) Dr. R.K. Sharma and Dr. Upendra Kaul. Based on the histopathology report and ECG reports (which were not filed by the State of Maharasthra) as well as the viscera report and post-mortem report of Judge Loya, Dr. Sharma and Dr. Kaul have opined that Judge Loya did not died of heart failure. Dr. R.K. Sharma is former head of the Forensic Medicine and Toxicology Department at AIIMS and the President of the Indian Association of Medico-Legal Experts, and Dr. Upendra Kaul is former professor of cardiology at AIIMS and a Padmashri awardee.