The Supreme Court yesterday dismissed the petition demanding fresh probe into the Judge Loya Death case. The petition, which was backed by Congress party and some other political and media personalities was called frivolous and a full frontal attack on the judiciary. The amount of media hype and political posturing the case generated was enormous. The lawyers, political leaders and media persons kept pushing the fake, baseless allegations into limelight even after the deceased judges’ family made clear that they have no doubts the manner of his death.
The Supreme Court, in the 114-page judgement, has made very potent and scathing remarks on the intent and attempts to malign the judiciary and law enforcement of the country. Today Finance Minister and prominent lawyer Arun Jaitley have shared a post on his Facebook page titled ‘Judge Loya Death Case- The one that almost created a judicial mutiny” where he has discussed the SC’s judgement and made some every thought-provoking remarks.
The Finance Minister, who is currently undergoing treatment for a kidney ailment has stated that he read the judgement and a reading of the judgement exposes every facet of the conspiracy to generate falsehood as propaganda in the public and political space.
The FM states that never ever so blatantly in the past have national political parties, a few retired judges and some senior lawyers so closely identified themselves with the generation of falsehood that they almost came out as conspirators. He adds that a detailed analysis of the facts and the role played by some groups is necessary since he suspects such attempts will also be made in the future.
Arun Jaitley then goes on to discuss the alleged role of Amit Shah in the Sohrabuddin case. He states that Amit Shah had no role in it and it was an alleged encounter executed by some central agencies through the State Police. He adds that on September 27, 2013, he had written a detailed letter to then PM Manmohan Singh with details of the case. He added that the alleged linkage to Amit Shah was based entirely on the statements of two persons, Ramanbhai Patel and Dasrathbhai Patel who were both noted landgrabbers, had given evidence that on a meeting regarding the cancellation of PASA orders against them, Amit Shah allegedly demanded Rs 75 lakhs from them and during their conversation, mentioned in some casual statements that why Sohrabuddin had to be killed. FM Jaitley adds that the evidence was false as there neither was any PASA order against the two persons, nor the visitor’s register in Amit Shah’soffice had any mention of him meeting them. Thirdly, the persons had claimed that they had paid Rs 75 lakhs to Amit Shah through some Ajay Patel but on the dates mentioned by them, Ajay Patel was not in the country.
Arun Jaitley states that on this flimsy evidence, Amit Shah could have got bail from any court in the country and that in fact, the Gujrat High Court had even commented that this was a case of ‘no prosecutable evidence’. Jaitley further asserts that it did not matter to Amit Shah that which judge would hear the flimsy case against him and he was discharged in the case. He adds that some individuals went ahead to challenge the discharge order in the Mumbai HC and the SC but the challenge was again rejected. Jaitley states that many of the people behind the Judge Loya case are in fact the people behind the Sohrabuddin case against Amit Shah.
Arun Jaitley then discusses the fake news peddled by the Caravan magazine which raked up the Judge Loya case. He states that as the Supreme Court judgement establishes, Judge Loya complained of chest pain in Ravi Bhawan, Nagpur on Dec 1, 2014. He was accompanied by four of his colleagues to a hospital where an ECG was conducted, preliminary treatment was given and Judge Loya was further referred to a specialised cardiology hospital but he passed away. He adds that though attempts were made to revive him, they were unsuccessful and he was declared dead. Jaitley adds that as per the investigations reports, during the period of his cardiac problems, only the four colleagues (who are all district level officers), the doctors and the medical staff of the two hospitals had access to h due him. He further adds that, after Judge Loya was declared dead, four High Court judges arrived at the second hospital and a post-mortem, which was conducted at a third hospital indicated death due to cardiac issues. The FM states that judge Loya’s body was accompanied to his hometown by two Magistrates. He further states that after perusing the statement of all concerned persons and Judge Loya’s family members, who accepted the natural causes of the death, the Supreme Court came to a finding that this conclusively was a death because of natural reasons and there was no suspicious circumstance.
The FM then states, “The Caravan Magazine stories and investigations are a textbook example of fake news. It was not gossip or rumour mongering but a deliberately generated fake news where falsehood was manufactured to generate a massive public controversy.”
The FM then goes ahead to discuss the ‘Institution Disruptors’. He states that most courts in India have a set of crusading lawyers who pick-up causes in public interest and pursue them and that is perfectly acceptable but in the last few years some of the public interest crusaders have evolved into ‘Institution Disruptors’ who pick up even false causes and pursue them with deep commitment. He adds that these people are shrill, rude and often indulge in intimidating advocacy. He asserts that these people are disrespectful to judges and believe that their falsehoods must be accepted as gospel truths. Jaitley adds that a section of media gives these people publicity. He further goes ahead to add that from a national party, the Congress has reduced to the fringe and the party, through its lawyers and otherwise is ‘too willing to identify’ these disruptors and together they have made intimidation and rudeness as the new form of advocacy.
The FM then goes ahead to discuss the impeachment motion the Congress party is mulling and explains that impeachment is sought for an SC judge only in the case of ‘incapacity’ or ‘proven misconduct’ but the Congress is trying to make it as a political tool. He asserts the judicial, constitutional and moral profoundness of the power of impeachment vested upon the houses of Parliament and adds that each member has to act as judge irrespective of party’s intentions. He adds that collecting some signatures and attempting to make impeachment a political tool is a dangerous precedent and a serious threat to the independence of the judiciary. He affirms that the current suggested impeachment motion against CJI Deepak Mishra is nothing but Congress’ revenge petition after its falsehoods have been exposed. He further adds that it is nothing but a threat to the CJI and a message to other judges.
Arun Jaitley goes further to add that apart from impeachment motion and intimidation tactics, the single greatest threat to the judicial independence is the ‘divided court’. He ponders that when the four judges of the SC held a press conference, had they even checked up on the basic facts of the Judge Loya case before commenting on it and whether anyone should be commenting on pending cases at all. He even wonders if the impeachment motion is the direct result of that press conference itself and whether this will set a trend that political parties of the country will use impeachment as an instrument to intimidate judges.
The Finance Minister concludes by stating that what has happened today is a price the Indian judiciary has to pay for misadventures of many and there is no better time for judicial statesmanship and political foresight.