CJI-led bench to hear Loya death case

Cheryl Sanders
January 20, 2018

The judge was hearing the Sohrabuddin Sheikh encounter case.

On 13 January, the Supreme Court Bar Association (SCBA) passed two resolutions, one holding that a full court reference comprising all judges of SC be made to resolve the issue over allocation of cases and another where all cases of public interest litigation are heard by either the CJI or the four senior SC judges. During the meeting, the commission recommended elevation of Chief Justice Lahore High Court Justice Mansoor Ali Shah to the Supreme Court of Pakistan.

According to the Supreme Court's website, the two PILs have been posted under the category of cases "fresh for admission" as item number 45, before the bench of CJI and Justices A M Khanwilkar and D Y Chandrachud.

The petitions demanding independent probe are filed by Congress leader Tehseen Poonawalla and Maharashtra journalist B S Lone.

"List the matters on January 22, 2018, before the appropriate bench as per the roster", the CJI's bench said.

On January 16, a Bench of Justices Arun Mishra and Mohan M. Shantanagoudar recused themselves from hearing the PILs any further by inserting a line in their order saying "put up case before appropriate Bench".

It had left it to the Maharashtra government to decide which documents, relating to Loya's death, could be handed over to the petitioners.

Senior advocate Harish Salve, appearing for Maharashtra, submitted documents in a sealed cover to the bench, insisting that they contained certain confidential material which can not be shared in public and therefore should not be handed over to petitioners.

Current BJP President Amit Shah was named as an accused in the case. At that time, he was handling the sensitive Sohrabuddin Sheikh case.

Notably, son of judge BH Loya had said that his father died of natural causes and not in suspicious circumstances.

The top court had asked the Maharashtra government earlier in the month to submit the postmortem report of the CBI judge who had died under mysterious circumstances, asserting that the "matter was very serious". They alleged the CJI was assigning cases to benches of his personal preference.

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