A NUMBER OF leading civil society activists and academicians across India have appealed to the Supreme Court to "reconsider the verdict" on Justice Loya's death, claiming that the "rejection of probe does not satisfy people's conscience."
Addressed to the Chief Justice of India and his companion justices, the activists, including Anand Teltumbde, Nandini Sundar, Paranjoy Guha Thakurta, Amiya Bagchi, Tripta Wahi, Sumit Sarkar, Jayati Ghosh, and Zoya Hasan, said they were "deeply anguished" by the apex court's verdict ruling out any need for a probe into Loya's death.
A three-judge bench led by the CJI had concluded that Judge Loya's death on December 1, 2014 at Nagpur was due to natural causes and that there is no ground for reasonable suspicion about the cause or circumstances of death that would merit a further inquiry.
The activists said such a conclusion was "based on the statements made by four judicial officers...to the Commissioner of the Maharashtra State Intelligence Department."
"We note with grave concern that these four judicial officers were neither asked to submit affidavits before the Supreme Court during the proceedings, nor were any cross examination of their testimonies permitted," they said, and added why these judicial officers were "being accorded special privilege when they have become witnesses in an investigation into a possible crime."
"The word of any witness should be cross-examined and verified following legal procedures, in order to establish its accuracy. The reason for the three judge bench of the Supreme Court to make exceptions in this case, just because the witnesses claiming to accompany Justice Loya at the time of his death are judicial officers, does not appear reasonable and fair," the appeal to the SC judges said.
The activists said the death of Justice Loya and the apprehensions of foul play raised by his family members "have raised very serious questions regarding the independence of the Indian judiciary."
"We are sad to say that the three judge bench verdict does not satisfy people's conscience," they said, and urged the top judiciary to "reconsider the three judge bench judgement and order a Supreme Court monitored investigation into Judge Loya's death."
Signatories to the statement included:
- Achin Chakraborty, Director, IDSK
- Albeena Shakil, Faculty Member, JGLU
- Amit Bhaduri, Professor Emeritus, JNU
- Amiya Bagchi, Former Director, IDSK
- Anand Teltumbde, Writer and Civil Rights Activist
- Ayesha Kidwai, Professor, JNU
- Brij Tankha, Professor (Retd.), Delhi University
- Debarshi Das, Faculty Member, IIT, Guwahati
- Dhananjay Tripathi, Faculty Member, South Asia University
- Fauzan Abrar, Faculty Member, JNU
- Gouranga Dandapat, Theatre Director
- Gouri Chatterjee, Senior Journalist and Author
- Indranil Chowdhury, Faculty Member, PGDAV College, DU
- Jayati Ghosh, Professor, JNU
- Kamal Kabra, Professor, Institute of Social Sciences
- Kumar Rana, Project Director, Pratichi Institute
- Madhu Bhaduri, Former Diplomat
- Maidul Islam, Faculty Member, CSSS
- Nandini Sundar, Professor, DSE
- Naveen Gaur, Faculty Member, Dyal Singh College, DU
- Nissim Mannathukkaren, Faculty Member, Dalhousie University, Canada
- Paranjoy Guha Thakurta, Senior Journalist and Author
- Parimal Maya Sudhakar, Faculty Member, MIT School of Government, Pune
- Pradeep Esteves, Development Activist, Timbaktu Collective
- Rohit Azad, Faculty Member, JNU
- Sanjaya Kumar Bohidar, Faculty Member, SRCC, DU
- Saumyajit Bhattacharya, Faculty Member, Kirorimal College, DU
- Shamsul Islam, Faculty Member (Retd.), Satyavati College, DU
- Sheetanshu Kumar, Faculty Member, Assam University
- Shirshendu Mukherjee, Management Consultant, London
- Sougata Kerr, Senior Bank Executive, New Jersey
- Srinivasan Ramani, Journalist
- Subhanil Chowdhury, Faculty Member, IDSK
- Sucharita Sen, Professor, JNU
- Sudipta Bandyopadhyay, Faculty Member, University of Calcutta
- Sumit Sarkar, Faculty Member, XLRI, Jamshedpur
- Sunanda Sen, Professor (Retd.), JNU
- Tripta Wahi, Faculty Member (Retd.), Hindu College, DU
- Vijoo Krishnan, Joint Secretary, All India Kisan Sabha
- Zoya Hasan, Professor, JNU
apart from many others.
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