Death of Judge Loya: Legal fraternity across the country demand inquiry

According to a report in the Wire, thirty-two signatories including retired secretaries to the Government of India, four former ambassadors and former chief information commissioner of the State Government have appealed to the Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra and the Chief Justice of the Bombay High Court to order a probe into the suspicious circumstances surrounding the death of Justice Brijgopal Harkishan Loya, CBI Judge in Mumbai.

Additionally, as many as 470 advocates of the Punjab and Haryana High Court have written to the CJI seeking a probe into the matter.

The Latur Bar Association’s general body passed a resolution on November 25th demanding an investigation into the suspicious circumstances surrounding Justice Loya’s death.  It sought an independent inquiry by an independent commission of the Supreme Court or High Court into the judge’s death. The members of the bar association held a march to the district collector’s office to submit a memorandum addressed to the President of India. A few hundred people participated in the march.

This issue came into the limelight after a news report was done by the Caravan raising several disconcerting questions with regard to the death of Judge Loya, who was hearing the alleged encounter killing of Sohrabuddin Sheikh in 2005. The article contained accounts of the family of Judge Loya who cited various instances that pointed towards foul play. Anuradha Biyani, sister of Judge Loya and a medical doctor in Dhule, Maharashtra admitted that her brother had confided in her that he had been offered Rs.100 Crore by Mohit Shah for giving a favourable judgement, the then chief justice of the Bombay High Court. Loya’s father Harkishan also mentioned that he had offers to deliver a favourable judgement in exchange for money and a house in Mumbai.

According to news report in the Times of India, on 28th November, Anuj Loya, son of Judge Loya met with the Chief Justice of the Bombay High Court, Majula Chellur, and stated that him and his family has no suspicion regarding the death of his father, and they wish for no inquiry to take place. However, a subsequent news report done by the Caravan, shows a letter which was allegedly written by Anuj Loya which conveyed a desire for an inquiry to take place into the death of his father.

Whether there will be a probe into the death of the judge is yet to be seen, however, the more imminent question that must be raised is the issue of the safety of the family that has gone on record to make accusations against some of the most powerful forces in the country.