Hearing in Justice Loya death case to continue on March 5

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Justice Chandrachud told Dave: "Please be rest assured that a lot of things may be said outside the court".

Dushyant Dave, senior advocate appearing on behalf of Bombay Lawyers' Association, objected to Rohatgi's stand and interjected that he has not been given opportunity to argue the application yet and a response can not be filed in such circumstances.

The state has no doubt that the judicial officer died an accidental death.

He again on Monday urged the Court to issue a notice of Maharashtra Government to seek affidavits from the four judges who were with Loya at the time of his death. "If there is some kind of suspicion in this case and calls for an investigation, we will definitely proceed to consider it". "One of the judicial officers, who accompanied the judge to hospital, has given a statement that Loya was taken in his vehicle to the hospital", Rohatgi said.

Judge Loya died of cardiac arrest on December 1, 2014, in Nagpur where he had gone to attend the wedding of a colleague's daughter.

The bench said the Bar Council of India was not before it as a party and Dave could argue on the matter with utmost liberty. "We do not care what is said outside, but we will do our duty if any fact arouses our suspicion", a bench presided over by Chief Justice Dipak Misra observed. The judge was hearing the Sohrabuddin Sheikh encounter case and questions have been raised about the circumstances around his death, which several Opposition parties have called "mysterious" and have even made a representation to the President seeking an independent probe.

Senior counsel Pallav Sisodia, appearing for another PIL petitioner and Maharashtra-based journalist Bandhuraj Sambhaji Lone, said Dave was trying to bring pressure on him to withdraw from the case. "Strangely, the judges give statements in 2017 within 24 hours of Maharashtra police commencing inquiry into Loya's death following the report in the news magazine".

Senior advocate Mukul Rohatgi, representing Maharashtra, questioned the timing of the PILs and repeated that the petitioners had got "oblique political motives". We treat it like a cause.

To this, Dave said "I stand by my article".

Earlier Dave faulted the court for not issuing notice in these petitions. Why November? Because just a couple of months back, this court had dismissed a petition challenging the discharge of a particular person (apparently referring to BJP chief Amit Shah). It had said the statements of judges J Kulkarni, J Barde, J Modak and J R R Rathi, were unimpeachable and that Loya's death was natural and unfortunate.

The matter will next be heard on March 5.

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