After the controversy around CBI judge BH Loya's death became the flashpoint for a stand-off within the judiciary, all eyes were on the Supreme Court as to which bench will hear the matter.
There have been widespread allegations that politically sensitive matters are being allocated to a "preferred bench".
In a curious order, justice Arun Mishra earlier asked the matter to be listed before the "appropriate bench". There was no recusal in the open court when the second hearing of the case happened.
A mentioning was made before the chief justice of India and the matter was listed for January 22. Harish Salve and Mukul Rohatgi batted for the state of Maharashtra arguing how the matter had been deeply politicised and the name of Amit Shah unnecessarily dragged.
Dushyant Dave and Indira Jaising made their interventions and argued that all pleas from the Bombay High Court should be transferred to the Supreme Court. Justice DY Chandrachud took the lead and said the matter has invited much attention and questions from the media, and there should be an objective probe.
Justice Chandrachud went on to observe that all of us (lawyers) are our own conscience keepers. The state of Maharashtra agreed to provide all the documents as sought by the petitioners.
One could call the hearing volatile and full of drama, especially the exchange between Dushyant Dave and Harish Salve, but there was very little substance. The state of Maharashtra promised to share the remaining documents while oral observations were made about how Amit Shah's name shouldn't be dragged because, as of today, the death of judge Loya's was due to natural reasons.
Sources say the documents shared were already in public domain like the post-mortem report, statement of the judges etc. At no point so far any argument has been made which talks about any lacuna in the Loya case. Even the fiercest voices like that of Dushyant Dave are yet to make any argument on the documents which have been submitted.
The Loya case has a political angle at two levels. First, outside the court, where the fact that the deceased judge was hearing the Sohrabuddin encounter case is used to argue Amit Shah's involvement in the alleged murder. The second is within the judiciary. Four judges cited that Loya case was given to a "preferred bench" and the judges also gave a representation to the CJI. The political nuances of this case will only deter a fair hearing.
Every aspect of the case is deeply politicised while the media scrutiny will have its own political biases. It's debatable how the political whims will impact the trial and the views of the public at large.
On the next hearing on February 2, one will get to see whether the loud voices in the case (on either side) are capable of making legally tenable arguments, or the truth will get drowned out?