Judge Loya's mysterious death: Supreme Court agrees to hear case on Friday

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Both petitions were mentioned before a bench of Chief Justice Dipak Misra and Justices A M Khanwilkar and D Y Chandrachud on Thursday.

In a significant development, the Supreme Court has agreed to hear the mysterious death of Judge Brijgopal Harkishan Loya, who was hearing the fake encounter case of Sohrabuddin Shaikh at the time of his death.

The plea for a probe into the judge's death on December 21 was filed by Maharashtra-based journalist BR Lone. "This is a serious matter", the bench said.

Senior advocate Indira Jaising, appearing for journalist Lone, told the Court that she has also got instructions from the Bombay lawyers association that this matter should not be heard by the top court. Justice Gogoi, one of the four judges present at the press conference on Friday, had answered in affirmative when asked if they had objection to the assignment of Judge Loya's case to a particular Bench.

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The publication cites various alleged manipulations in records on the night of Loya's death.

Judge Loya died of heart attack on December 1, 2014 while on a visit to Nagpur, where he had gone to attend the wedding of a colleague's daughter.

Warning that democracy is at stake, four senior judges of the Supreme Court Friday mounted a virtual revolt against the country's chief justice, raising questions on "selective" case allocation and certain judicial orders, sending shockwaves across the judiciary and polity.

Some accounts have claimed that the judge's death occurred under mysterious circumstances and there have been demands for a probe into the circumstances of his death.

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Last November, Loya's sister alleged foul play in his death in an interview to Caravan magazine.

The case was later transferred to CBI and the trial was shifted to Mumbai. His family has raised doubts over the circumstances in which Judge Loya died and have sought an independent probe into it.

As advocate Varinder Kumar Sharma initiated arguments briefly on behalf of the petitioner, Congress sympathiser and relative of Robert Vadra, Tehseen Poonawalla, the court said, "This matter requires bi-party hearing rather than exparte". BJP has insisted that the case was political in nature and had been framed with an eye on the 2014 Lok Sabha election.

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