Political rivalries have to be resolved in the great hall of democracy when the electorate votes its representatives in and out of office, the Supreme Court firmly said on Thursday, throwing out pleas filed by activists and lawyers who sought an independent probe into the mysterious death of Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) judge BH Loya four years ago. Judge Loya’s death
The deceased judge was then hearing the Sohrabuddin fake encounter case in which BJP president Amit Shah was an accused. Shah was eventually discharged from the case by Judge Loya’s successor in office.
The judgment is seen as a huge relief to Shah as the Opposition was hoping that the apex court would order a fresh probe.
Slamming misuse of public interest litigation (PIL), the bench headed by Chief Justice Dipak Misra said, Courts resolve disputes about legal rights and entitlements. Courts protect the rule of law. There is a danger that the judicial process will be reduced to a charade if disputes beyond the ken of legal parameters occupy the judicial space. The present case is indeed a case in point.
The court debunked all mystery death theories floated by petitioners Bombay Lawyers Association, social activists Tehseen Poonawalla and Bandhuraj Sambhaji Lone, giving instead credence to statements of four judges who were with 48-year-old Loya in Nagpur November 30, 2014, where he had gone to attend a wedding and died of cardiac arrest. Judge Loya’s death
The bench ruled that the death was natural and there is not a shred of doubt. Over time, it has been realised that this jurisdiction is capable of being and has been brazenly misutilised by persons with a personal agenda. At one end of that spectrum are those cases where public interest petitions are motivated by a desire to seek publicity.
At the other end of the spectrum are petitions which have been instituted at the behest of business or political rivals to settle scores behind the facade of a public interest litigation. The true face of the litigant behind the façade is seldom unraveled,” the Supreme Court said.
It is to be noted that the bench had on the first day of hearing (January 23) itself warned senior advocate Dushyant Dave, who appeared for BLA, against making political allegations in the court. This was when he repeatedly dragged Amit Shah’s name into the hearing saying, The entire exercise was to save one man, that is Amit Shah. Judge Loya’s death
The bench also took serious offence to certain comments and aspersions cast against several lower judiciary and Bombay High Court judges by lawyers Prashant Bhushan, Dave and Indira Jaising – who appeared for petitioners and said it amounted to contempt of court. The court, however, refused to initiate contempt proceedings against them.
The conduct of the petitioners scandalises the process of the court and prima facie constitutes criminal contempt, it said.