On 27 November, members of the Latur Bar Association marched from the Latur district court to the office of the district collector, to submit a memorandum seeking a probe into the death of the judge BH Loya. In an interview to The Caravan, Uday Gaware, a batchmate of the late judge, and a senior lawyer and former president of the bar association, recalled that Loya had confided in him about being “under pressure” while presiding over the Sohrabuddin case. During that period, Gaware added, “the otherwise jovial Brijmohanji Loya ... for the first time I saw that he was in a lot of tension.”
The late judge Loya hailed from Latur, where he was a member of the bar association and practised as an advocate for nearly a decade, before his appointment as a judge. Gaware told The Caravan that Loya would visit Latur during court holidays and speak to his former colleagues from the bar association. Gaware recalled that when Loya visited Latur during Diwali in 2014, he said he was facing pressure while hearing the Sohrabuddin case. According to Gaware, Loya had said, “I want to resign. I will come to the village and take up farming, but I will not give a wrong judgment.”
The Caravan also learnt that Loya had spoken to another lawyer friend at greater length about the issue. When The Caravan reached out to this friend, he said, “I have a lot of evidence to show that he was under pressure.” But he added, “I will talk about this only in front of an enquiry officer.”
The Latur Bar Association’s general body passed a resolution on 25 November stating that it had “unanimously decided” to demand an investigation into the “suspicious circumstances” surrounding Loya’s death. In the resolution, the bar association sought an inquiry by an “independent commission of the Supreme Court/High Court” into the judge’s death. Two days later, the members marched to the district collector’s office to submit a memorandum addressed to the president of India.
The bar association’s memorandum noted that the “suspicion surrounding” the death of judge Loya “is not a healthy situation for the judiciary.” It further states, “As the part of the judicial mechanism, we feel it necessary to have a transparent enquiry into the alleged unnatural death and the pressure under which he was working as a judge at the relevant time.”