6 Oct 2020 12:48 PM GMT
The High Court of Gujarat on Tuesday held Advocate Yatin Oza guilty of contempt of court.A bench comprising Justices Sonia Gokani and N V Anjaria pronounced the verdict in the criminal contempt case suo moto initiated by the High Court after Oza, the President of the Gujarat High Court Advocates Associations made public allegations of maladministration of justice within the HC.On July 18, the...
The High Court of Gujarat on Tuesday held Advocate Yatin Oza guilty of contempt of court.
A bench comprising Justices Sonia Gokani and N V Anjaria pronounced the verdict in the criminal contempt case suo moto initiated by the High Court after Oza, the President of the Gujarat High Court Advocates Associations made public allegations of maladministration of justice within the HC.
On July 18, the HC had revoked the senior designation given to Oza recalling the Full Court decision of 1999 designating him as a Senior Advocate.
The cause of action was a Facebook live conference held by Oza in June, where he alleged that the HC regsitry was following corrupt practises and that undue favours were being shown to high profile industrialists and smugglers.
The HC took suo moto cognizance of Oza's statements, and initiated contempt proceedings, observing :
"As the Bar President has by his scandalous expressions and indiscriminate as well as baseless utterances has attempted to cause serious damage to the prestige and majesty of the High Court and thereby of independent judiciary as also attempted to lower the image of entire Administration and also created demoralising effect amongst the Administrative wing, this court in exercise of powers conferred under Article 215 of the Constitution of India, prima facie finds him responsible for committing the criminal contempt of this Court within the meaning of Section 2(c) of the Contempt of Courts Act and takes cognizance of such criminal contempt against him under Section 15 of the said Act."
The bench observed that Oza had, with frivolous grounds and unverified facts, targeted the HC Registry and had questioned the very credibility of High Court Administration.
Though Oza had approached the Supreme Court against the contempt notice, the SC refused to entertain the plea, and asked him to agitate the matter in the High Court itself.
He told the SC that he was offering "unconditional apology" for his remarks against the HC.
The SC observed that as a leader of the bar, Oza had greater responsibility and that he ought to be restrained in conveying the grievances of the lawyers. The apex court did not express anything on the merits of the matter, and said that it was appropriate that the High Court dealt with the issue first, taking note of his apology.
Oza, as the GHCAA President, had earlier voiced strong protest against the transfer of Justice Akil Kureshi from Gujarat HC to Bombay HC by terming it "unwarranted, uncalled for and unjust"
The Association under his leadership had also approached the Supreme Court against the Centre's delay to act on the SC Collegium's recommendation to elevate Justice Kureshi as the Chief Justice of Madhya Pradesh High Court.
In June, he had tendered his resignation as the GHCAA President following differences among the Office bearers of the Association regarding re-opening of the courts for physical hearing. Oza had addressed a letter to Chief Justice Vikram Nath, urging him to let the High Court function "full fledgedly" via video conferencing and allow all matters to be heard.
Later, he withdrew his resignation, following request by several members.
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