Judge Loya case: 'Don’t need certificate from anyone, guided by our heart', says SC
We are guided by our conscience and heart while delivering judgments and require no certificate from anyone, the Supreme Court said during the hearing of judge Loya case.
A Bench headed by Chief Justice of India, Dipak Misra also took umbrage against a senior lawyer for casting aspersions on judges that they were only asking "searching questions" to those who brought the BH Loya death case before it, and not to the Maharashtra government.
"We will ask questions what we want to satisfy our conscience. We don't have to show a veneer of justice to you. Justice is in our hearts and minds. We don't want a certificate, least of all from an arguing counsel," the Bench said.
The strong remarks came when senior advocate Dushyant Dave said the court was not asking questions to another senior advocate Mukul Rohatgi appearing for Maharashtra when he was arguing and he had to face all the queries.
Justice Chandrachud replied that "Fortunately, in our judicial system, the judges have to agree with the lawyers and not vice versa".
"Unfortunately in our system, you don't have to agree with us but we have to agree with you, sometimes a person is so involved in the arguments that he forgets who is a judge and who is a lawyer," he said.
Dave replied that there are always two ways to look at something and one should stand for the cause.
To this, Justice Chandrachud said, "No leniency to justice is being imparted. Justice lies in our conscience."
During the hearing, the Bench also clarified that it cannot direct the state to file affidavit and the documents once produced by the Maharashtra government can be equally good.
"We will not allow the state to correct the anomaly if any by way of affidavit. If there is anything wrong, it will be dealt according to the law," it said.
Dave then said that he can't file contempt or seek perjury proceedings against the state, as the documents are not filed on the affidavit.
The Bench said that he (Dave) can still file contempt and seek initiation of perjury proceedings against the state in case of any false documents.
While referring to Ravi Bhavan, where judge Loya was staying the night before he died, Dave said that it was just at a five-minute distance from the chief justice's bungalow and questioned why his car could not be called to take him to the hospital.
"If the Chief Justice cannot take care of his judiciary, then he is not fit to be Chief Justice," the senior advocate said.
This statement led to a heated exchange between Dave and Rohatgi who objected to the statement of the former saying he cannot accuse everybody.
"This case is mala fide based on an article in media. The article was a case of yellow journalism. The article was never published for three years but once a petition challenging the discharge of accused in Sohrabuddin Sheikh case was dismissed by the SC, the article surfaces," Rohatgi said.
Dave questioned why did the CBI then not file an appeal against the discharge of BJP president Amit Shah in the case.
Rohatgi replied these are all absurd allegations and the CBI had filed appeals against some of the accused in the case.
Dave then moved on and argued that the report of intelligence commissioner has to be rejected and does not inspire confidence due to the various anomaly.
At the fag end of the hearing, advocate Prashant Bhushan appearing for the Centre for Public Interest Litigation, said two reports (histopathology and the ECG) of judge Loya, were not filed by the State in the documents filed before the court.
Bhushan said he had personally met many cardiologists who had seen these reports and had ruled out that judge Loya had died of a heart attack.
He pointed out the expert opinion of Dr Upendra Kaul, former professor of cardiology at AIIMS and Padma Shri awardee, who had virtually ruled out a heart attack as the cause of death, on the basis of the histopathology and ECG reports.
Bhushan further pointed out that the doctor at Dande Hospital and Meditrina Hospital in Nagpur had noted tall T-waves in the ECG, in their statements filed with the State.
On March 5, the apex court had said questions should not be raised over the change in the judge hearing the Sohrabuddin Sheikh fake encounter case in Bombay High Court, as the change in the roster was a "routine" affair which is in accordance with the established tradition there.
Loya, who was hearing the high-profile Sohrabuddin Sheikh fake encounter case, 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.
The Bench is hearing batch of pleas including those filed by Congress leader Tehseen Poonawala and Maharashtra-based B S Lone seeking an independent probe into Loya's death.