A bench comprising Chief Justice Dipak Misra, Justice AM Khanwilkar and Justice DY Chandrachud had on 16 March reserved the judgment on the batch of petitions demanding an SIT probe.
The bench said if this was to be the test, it was rather ironical that the petitioners had instituted proceedings before the Bombay High Court whose judges were expected to be faced with the same situation.
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This is not about the Supreme Court getting cold feet about investigating a political bigshot. The court wondered how the senior lawyers made such callous and unverified allegations and felt it necessary to protect judges of the district judiciary and stood by their statements realising how vulnerable they are to "wanton attacks" on their independence.
"The SC while dismissing the petition seeking independent investigation into Judge Loya's death, said that "Judges can't lie". Several reports have questioned the sudden and "mysterious" death of judge Loya. The bench observed that the petitioners tried to scandalise the judiciary.
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The issue of Loya's death had come under spotlight in November a year ago after media reports quoting his sister fuelled suspicion about the circumstances surrounding it and its link to the Sohrabuddin case. At the time, he was the special judge in the trial for the alleged fake encounter of Sohrabuddin Sheikh, in which BJP president Amit Shah was a key accused.
"For sometime, a few people were trying to politicise the judiciary".
The court also condemned the manner in which CPIL brought on record the opinion of an independent expert, Upendra Kaul, to establish alleged foul play in the December 2014 death of judge Loya.
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Her accomplice, Isabelle Lagace , 29, was sentenced in November to seven and a half years in prison backdated to their arrest. The two were reportedly given first-class cruise tickets worth $20,000, plus about $5,000 in spending money.
Biren said the apex court dismissed the PIL for being politically motivated besides being a blatant attempt to defame judiciary, especially the top court. "There are a number of unanswered questions", said Srinivas Loya, the uncle of the judge. "The Congress, its president Shri Rahul Gandhi and Smt Sonia Gandhi should apologise for this sin", Naqvi told reporters. He said when the Supreme Court had not heeded noted lawyers like Prashant Bhushan, "then what is our standing?" A clutch of pleas, including those by Congress leader Tehseen Poonawala and Maharashtra-based BS Lone, was filed in the top court, seeking an independent probe into the death. However, Loya's son had on 14 January said in Mumbai that his father had died of natural causes. Shah was later discharged from the case.