Dushyant Dave
Dushyant Dave

“Sitting judges are not holy cows”, Dushyant Dave in Judge Loya case

Murali Krishnan

The hearing in the case seeking probe into the death of Judge Loya continued today in court room 1 of Supreme Court.

Arguing before a Bench of Chief Justice Dipak Misra and Justices AM Khanwilkar and DY Chandrachud, Senior Advocate Dushyant Dave was in his elements today resulting in a strong exchange of words with Senior Advocate Harish Salve and Additional Solicitor General Tushar Mehta.

Interestingly, Dave, appearing for Bombay Lawyers Association, started his submissions by citing fifteen cases in which the Supreme Court had intervened to issue notice.

“I have Your Lordships order in fifteen cases in which Your Lordships intervened and rightly so. I seek the same indulgence and kindness. 

Citing the Shopian firing case and Hadiya case, wherein the Court had issued notice, Dave stated that unless the State comes on affidavit it might not be possible to hold them accountable.

Dave also came down upon the two Bombay High Court judges, Justice Bhushan Gavai and Justice Sunil Shukre who gave statements to Indian Express denying any suspicious circumstances surrounding Judge Loya’s death.

“Two sitting judges give interviews to the Indian Express stating that it is a natural death. How can sitting judges speak on a pending issue. On the administrative side, Your Lordship should tick off these two judges” Dave said.

Dave also referred to the controversial change in roster that was effected in Bombay High Court due to which a review application in Sohrabuddin encounter case was shifted from Revati Mohite-Dere to Justice NW Sambre.

“A single judge was hearing a review against discharge of certain accused and had asked some tough questions. Then suddenly roster was changed.

Judges who have stood in the way have suffered – like Justice (Jayant) Patel. Judges who have not have, like Justice MR Shah have been rewarded”, said Dave.

ASG Tushar Mehta objected to the submissions of Dave stating,

As an officer of the Court, I must tell Your Lordships that he should not be allowed to speak about sitting judges like this”, Mehta said.

“You appeared for Amit Shah for fifteen years and now you are briefing Mr. Salve and  Rohatgi for the State. This is a sad commentary on our profession.

Sitting judges are not holy cows. If they can give interviews to newspapers..[unclear].”

Harish Salve also objected to Dave’s remarks when Dave turned to Salve and remarked,

“You should be the last person make a sermon. As a Senior member of the Bar, you should be pointing out all these. You should be the leading light”, said Dave.

Dave proceeded to continue with his arguments tracing the history of the Sohrabuddin case, narrating how thirty witnesses turned hostile and trial judges were changed without the leave of the Supreme Court.

“The entire trial stands vitiated”, Dave submitted arguing how it cast enough suspicion on the death of Judge Loya, who was hearing the Sohrabuddin case.

Dave also referred to a letter written by Judge Loya’s son wherein he had expressed reservations about the safety of his family and had stated that if anything happens to his family members, Chief Justice Mohit Shah was responsible.

Look at these allegations against Chief Justice Mohit Shah. What grudge can Judge Loya’s family members possibly have against Justice Shah? None at all. It should be probed. If the probe finds that these allegations are false then it will exonerate Justice Shah. Otherwise these allegations will remain.”

Dave concluded by stating that every effort was being made to shun a probe and it is a blot on judiciary and democracy.

Subsequently, advocate Prashant Bhushan, intervening on behalf of NGO CPIL, submitted that he has two documents which were not annexed by the State to its report. Stating that expert opinion on the two documents pointed towards the fact that the death was not due to heart attack, Bhushan submitted,

“First one is the ECG at Dante. It shows that the ECG cannot be that of a person who had suffered a heart attack.

The second is a Histopathology report as per which the heart tissues and heart muscles are normal”, submitted Bhushan.

The Court then rose for the day and will now take up the matter on March 8. Time has also been allocated for each lawyer to complete her submissions.

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