The Bombay Lawyers Association (BLA) today claimed a petition filed in the Supreme Court, seeking a probe into the death of special CBI judge BH Loya, was “motivated”. The petition, filed by journalist B R Lone, was submitted to ensure a petition by the association on the same issue is not heard by the Bombay High Court, the BLA claimed. The association had earlier this week petitioned the HC, seeking a judicial inquiry into the circumstances surrounding the death of Loya in 2014. Loya, at the time, was hearing the case related to the alleged fake encounter killing of gangster Sohrabuddin Sheikh, his wife Kausar Bi and associate Tulsi Prajapati in 2005. BLA president Ahmed Abdi today held a press conference following allegations made by four senior judges of the Supreme Court claiming impropriety on part of Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra in assigning important cases. Among the cases mentioned by the four SC judges included the one linked with Loya’s death. “Our petition was filed on January 4. This petition in the Supreme Court has been filed subsequently. This was motivated and meant to ensure the High Court does not hear our petition on the ground that the apex court is seized of the matter,” Abdi said.
He also alleged that even though their petition was filed on January 4, it was numbered by the HC Registrar only in the afternoon of January 12 after the unprecedented press conference of the four SC judges in New Delhi. “If the lawyers association faces such treatment then what about the general public? The High Court takes suo motu (on its own) cognisance of issues like potholes on roads but not in the case of a judge’s death. My demand is for an open inquiry (into Loya’s death),” Abdi said. HC Registrar General SD Agarwal, however, refuted the allegations and said at present there is only one registrar doing the job of accepting petitions, PILs and other suits, and numbering them. “There are supposed to be two registrars. But right now there is only one as the second registrar has been transferred. Hence, there is a delay in petitions being assigned numbers,” Agarwal said.
Abdi had earlier this week mentioned his petition before a Division Bench of Justices S C Dharmadhikari and Bharti Dangre, which posted it for hearing on January 23. Abdi today said he would now be filing an intervening application in the SC, seeking that the case and all petitions pertaining to it be heard by the Bombay HC as it is in-charge of Maharashtra’s subordinate judiciary of which Loya was a part.
Loya had allegedly died of cardiac arrest in Nagpur on December 1, 2014, when he had gone to attend the wedding of a colleague’s daughter. Lone, in his petition filed in the SC, had submitted that a fair probe was needed into the death of Loya.