Petitioner alleges that the Bench has only believed the statements of the four colleagues of Loya, but they are not medical experts.
Ahmed Abdi, president of the Bombay Lawyers’ Association and one of the petitioners who sought a judicial investigation into the death of judge B.H. Loya, says the verdict dismissing the public interest litigation petitions will surely be challenged. “We are disappointed but we have only lost the battle, not the war,” he says.
Quoting the Supreme Court, how did the petition go from “serious” to “scandalous”?
I filed a PIL plea in the Bombay High Court on January 8. After four days, two petitions were filed in the Supreme Court. We pleaded that the petition be heard in Bombay, but Justice Arun Mishra said we will hear all the matters together in the SC. From the very beginning, they were not inclined to entertain it. Initially, when the four judges of the SC came out in the open, this matter was sent to Justice Mishra, and at that time itself, we knew the fate of the petition. On top of that, all those four judges have been sidelined. The SC has only believed the statements of the four judges [who were colleagues of Loya], but they are not medical experts. How can they make opinions and express views like this? It should all be based on medical evidence. So the statements of these judges should come on affidavit, on oath. Then we can cross-examine them and make them liable because they are coming as witnesses in the case and not judges.
What do you make of the dismissal?
Everyone told me this will happen. But it was important to file the PIL plea, as the lower judiciary is the first interface of the institution for the common man. So steps have to be taken to protect judges and magistrates of the lower judiciary. We are talking about the protection of these courts because the High Court and the Supreme Court are well protected. And they [SC] say we are maligning the judiciary. In fact we are protecting it.
Why do you think the Bench has said the petition is a ‘frontal attack on the judiciary’?
This is because it was rightly pointed out by senior counsel Prashant Bhushan that Justices D.Y. Chandrachud and A.M. Khanwilkar should not have presided over the matter as they are from Mumbai. They should have recused themselves as you know judges there and it is a direct conflict of justice. But the lordships took it as an “attack”.
How can the SC conclude that Judge Loya died a natural death?
The report relied upon by the SC only has the statements of judges, post-mortem report and some other reports. They haven’t relied on any media reports and just gone by the statements of the judges. But how can you rule out that the judge who died told his father and sister that he was offered ₹100 crore for giving a favourable order [in the Sohrabuddin encounter case]. The way the petitions were argued, it was heard every Monday and Friday for two hours each and there was no scope for them to dismiss it like this.
Will you challenge the judgment?
We will surely file a review petition, though a review is filed before the same Bench. At least we will get an opportunity to point out all the fallacies in the judgment. If it gets rejected, we will file a curative petition.
(Adapted from the Hindu)