Even as the Attorney General K.K. Venugopal claimed after a meeting with the Chief Justice of India that the ‘no-confidence’ in the CJI expressed by the next four senior judges would be resolved in the next 24 hours, Congress President Rahul Gandhi demanded an independent and impartial inquiry into the mysterious death of judge Brijgopal Loya to be monitored by the senior judges of the Supreme Court.
The CBI special court judge Loya had gone to Nagpur in November, 2015 to attend the wedding of the daughter of a colleague and died mysteriously after attending the reception. He was under pressure to discharge BJP president Amit Shah in the Sohrabuddin Shaikh fake encounter case by December 31, 2015. He died on November 30. His successor took up hearing of the discharge petition on December 15 and dropped charges against Shah on December 30.
A petition for an independent inquiry into the death is already pending before the Bombay high court. A similar petition before the Supreme Court was referred by the CJI to the bench of Justice Arun Mishra. This was one of the issues that the four judges who voiced their ‘no confidence’ in the CJI took up with the CJI on Friday morning, said Justice Chelameswar at the press conference.
Senior Congress leaders (L-R) : Vivek Tankha, Kapil Sibal, P. Chidambaram and Motilal Vora.
A statement released by the Congress on Friday evening said, “ Congress party earnestly appeals that the full court of the Supreme Court should take up the issues raised by the four honourable judges and find solutions that are consistent with the traditions and conventions of the judiciary pointed out by the four judges and that will preserve the independence of the judiciary.”
Reacting to the allegation of the four judges that the Chief Justice of India was referring important cases to relatively junior judges of his choice and ignoring the senior most judges. The Loya petition, for example, was referred by the CJI to court no. 10 while ignoring the first nine courts headed by more senior judges.