India: As Supreme Court Takes up Judge Loya Matter, Questions of Propriety, Objectivity Loom Large

January 23, 2018

The apex court has directed the listing of the case for February 2, when the hearing would be tested on the standard of objectivity that the bench has set for itself.

The hearing of the case related to the death of judge B.H. Loya before the chief justice-led bench in the Supreme Court began on Monday, marked by an acrimonious exchange between the counsel and judges on questions of propriety, objectivity and the freedom of the media to report sub judice matters. This was hardly surprising given the huge stakes involved in the efforts to unravel the mystery over the death of Judge Loya.

Although there are two petitioners before the Supreme Court seeking an independent probe into the “mysterious” death of Loya on December 1, 2014, it was the two counsel for the interveners, Dushyant Dave and Indira Jaising, who appeared to have set the agenda of the hearing on Monday.

Was Loya’s death mysterious? As of now, it is a natural death, observed Justice D.Y. Chandrachud, one of the three judges on the bench. Dave agreed, but added he only wished it was, as there are several pointers that suggest the contrary. Although Dave sought to list a few such suspicions about the theory of natural death, the bench considered it premature to discuss their merits in the absence of a complete record of documents.


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