A peaceful protest broke out today (February 6, 2020) in Mumbai at Gateway of India, and the only question asked by the protesters was: "who killed judge Loya?" These words were printed in bold red on the T-shirts of all the protestors who kept questioning the suspicious death of Judge Loya. Fingers were raised not only on the death but also the entire system which is working hard to keep the doors to the answer shut. "Why were blood stains found on the scene of the crime when the authorities said he died due to a heart attack?," they asked. "Why Judge Loya was rushed to an orthopaedic surgeon instead of a cardiologist? How did his phone travel all the way to Nagpur and then a private person instead of authorities gave it to deceased’s family but the entire phone history was found to be crystal clean?" they enquired further.
Judge Brijgopal Harkishan Loya was the one who was presiding over the case ofSohrabuddin Sheikh Encounter Case (Rubabuddin Sheikh v. State of Gujarat and Ors) 2010, in which Amit Shah, the current Home Minister was an accused who was later acquitted of all the charges.
Judge Loya died on Decmber 1, 2014 in Nagpur where he went to attend the marriage of one of the colleagues' daughter, 4 of the Judges who went with him confirmed that he died of a heart attack.
About Judge Loya and the Encounter
Judge Loya was one of the CBI Special Court Judges who heard the high profile Sohrabuddin Encounter Case. On June 2014 he was appointed as special judge for the case after the presiding Judge JP Utpat was transferred from the case.
Moreover a strange fact was that Judge Utpat was removed a day before he was going to pronounce an order on a petition for discharge of Amit Shah, the then president of BJP. This removal happened even when Supreme Court directed that presiding judge should not be transferred from the case.
Judeg Loya was displeased with Amit Shah’s absence in the trial and he asked Amit Shah’s lawyer to make sure that he is present in the next hearing that was on December 15, 2014, sadly it was strange that he died on December 1, 2014 and his successor acquitted Amit Shah of all the charges. Even the CBI did not question the judgment.
After this the Bombay Lawyers' Association filed a PIL in the Bombay High Court but as pendency was quite high, a fresh PIL was filed in the Supreme Court.
The matter was scheduled to be heard on January 12, 2018 but that very fine day 4 senior most judges held a Press conference, an unprecedented move after which Justice Arun Mishra who was going to hear the PIL on Loya’s death recused himself.
The then CJI Deepak Mishra constituted a 3-judge bench consisting of Justices DY Chandrachud and AM Khanwilkar and himself ordered that all the PIL’s seeking enquiry on Judge Loya’s death should be transferred to itself, even the one in the Bombay High Court.
After hearing from both the sides the Apex Court reserved the order for March 16, 2018.
Lastly nothing was said or done and now the protesters want the Maharashtra Government to reopen the case. They want the Government to look into every investigation that was done and how the people connected with the case disappeared unknowingly.
Author: Aarya Mishra