Updated: February 6, 2018 5:20:33 am
The counsel for the Bombay Lawyers Association moved an application Monday before the Supreme Court to cross-examine 11 persons, including two judges, in connection with the death of CBI special judge B H Loya in 2014.
Senior advocate Dushyant Dave filed the application under Order XI of the Supreme Court Rules 2013 for Cross-Examination of: Sanjeev Barve, Director General/Commissioner, State Intelligence Department, Maharashtra; Dr Prashant Bajrang Rathi, Resident of Sai Regency, Ravi Nagar, Nagpur; Niranjan Takle, Reporter of Caravan; Srikant D Kulkarni, Member Secretary, Maharashtra State Legal Service Authority; S M Modak, Principal District Judge, Pune; Vijay C Barde, Additional Sessions Judge, City Civil and Sessions Court, Greater Bombay; Dr Pinak Gangadhar Rao, Dande, Ram Nagar, Nagpur; Anuj Brij Gopal Loya s/o Late B H Loya; Sharmila Brij Gopal Loya w/o Late B H Loya; Hari Kishan Ramchandra Loya, f/o Late B H Loya; and, Dr Anuradha Balaprasad Biyani, sister of Late B H Loya.
On Monday, petitioners in the case told the Supreme Court that there was no entry of the Loya’s name in the register of Ravi Bhavan where he is said to have spent the night on November 30, 2014 while on a visit to Nagpur to attend the marriage of a colleague’s daughter. But the court pointed out that it had an entry in the name of the protocol officer of the Nagpur bench of the Bombay High Court who usually makes bookings for judges whenever they are there on visits.
But Jaising told the bench — headed by Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra, it also includes Justices A M Khanwilkar D Y Chandrachud and is hearing a clutch of petitions seeking an independent probe into the death of Loya — that the register usually contains the names of all who stay there whoever it may be.
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Jaising raised doubts about the statement made by one of the judges who said that three judges shared a room the night before Loya died. Justice Chandrachud pointed out that it was not a room but a suite. Jaising said some people had been to the room and found it was one with two beds. But Justice Chandrachud said he and Justice Khanwilkar, while crisscrossing Maharashtra, had stayed in circuit houses and had seen that they have rooms with beds and a small sitting area with sofas.
The hearing also saw a heated exchange between Justice Chandrachud and Dave. It started with Jaising and Dave criticising the stand of senior advocate Pallav Shishodia who was appearing for petitioner B R Lone. Shishodia said the court hearing the matter itself amounted to an independent probe and that he was not taking any side and urged the court to take a suitable decision.
Jaising said if Lone did not want an investigation, he need not have filed the petition. Dave repeated what he had said before, that the petition was filed in the Supreme Court to pre-empt the petition filed before the Bombay High Court so that the apex court would hear it. Shishodia objected, saying “I find it scandalous that somebody objects to the apex court hearing a matter.” As the argument went on, Justice Chandrachud intervened and told Dave “you have to listen to the judges when they are addressing court”.
Dave was defiant: “No, I won’t.” He wanted the court to ask senior counsel representing Maharashtra to withdraw on grounds of conflict of interest since they had also represented BJP president Amit Shah in the past. At this, Justice Chandrachud said in that case, the court won’t listen to him too. “Let us not reduce this court to a level which even a fish market is not,” he said, adding “address the court in your turn… allow dialogue to proceed in this court”. He also told Shishodia that “courtesy begets courtesy”. Following this, the counsel apologised. Dave, however, continued and said the BCI was sending him a notice over alleged professional misconduct while those on the other side were free to do whatever they wished.
Arguments in the case will continue Friday.
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