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'Yatin Oza Due To Argue Before HC Tomorrow On Point Of Truth', SC Told; Matter Listed On October 13 For Directions

Mehal Jain
29 Sep 2020 10:56 AM GMT
Yatin Oza Due To Argue Before HC Tomorrow On Point Of Truth, SC Told; Matter Listed On October 13 For Directions
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The Supreme Court on Tuesday has deferred GHCAA President Yatin Oza'a contempt matter to October 13, listing it for directions.The bench of Justice S. K. Kaul and Justice Hrishikesh Roy was informed by Advocate Nikhil Goel that "After September 17, the matter has been heard by the High Court on five occasions...the matter has started but it keeps getting adjourned...now it is listed for...

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The Supreme Court on Tuesday has deferred GHCAA President Yatin Oza'a contempt matter to October 13, listing it for directions.

The bench of Justice S. K. Kaul and Justice Hrishikesh Roy was informed by Advocate Nikhil Goel that "After September 17, the matter has been heard by the High Court on five occasions...the matter has started but it keeps getting adjourned...now it is listed for tomorrow as Mr. Oza wants to argue on the point of truth. I don't know if truth and apology will go together. That the court will have to see".
Noting that the matter is listed before the High Court tomorrow, Justice Kaul was inclined to put it up for directions sometime in mid-October. On Senior Advocate Arvind Datar's request, who is representing Mr. Oza, the bench listed it for October 13. "Let everything be completed. We will put it up for directions", said Justice Kaul.
The Supreme Court on September 9 had deferred hearing in the petition filed by advocate Yatin Oza against Gujarat High Court's decision to strip him off his designation as senior.

Given the fact that the High Court was scheduled to pass orders on September 17, the Supreme Court Bench comprising of Justices SK Kaul, Aniruddha Bose and Krishna Murari deemed it fit to wait and see what the High Court decides.

Stating that Oza might have "more hands to place his arguments on" after the High Court gives a verdict, the Bench said it would hear the matter in appeal thereafter. It was thus averred that subsequent to the punishment decided by the High Court, an appeal maybe filed accordingly.

Upon the suggestion of Oza's counsels, senior advocates Abhishek Manu Singhvi and Arvind Datar, the Supreme Court granted Oza liberty to serve a copy of the petition that will be moved before it to the respondents beforehand in order to enable them to come prepared with a response. Therefore, so long as a petition is moved soon after High Court's decision, Oza may provide that to the respondents who will then file a reply, without the need to issue a notice on the next date, thereby saving time and allowing the matter to be heard.

Giving due consideration to the amount of time this will require, Supreme Court has now listed the matter for September 29.

As the hearing commenced today, Justice Kaul stated that this was an unfortunate situation and expressed his concern regarding the same.

"What concerns us is that this is not an isolated incident. On various occasions he has used opportunities to, I'll use the term, 'brow beat' the Court", remarked Justice Kaul. He went on to say that Mr. Oza had only made things worse for himself.

Abhishek Manu Singhvi tried to appeal to the Court regarding the sensitivity of the issue and informed that Oza has tendered an apology on numerous occasions for his words. With regard to recalling of his designation as senior, Singhvi argued that the decision was harsh. "You know the matter of the gown is a death sentence for any lawyer", he urged.

Though the Bench expressed its awareness regarding the plight of a lawyer in this position, it was asserted that the power to grant and withdraw the designation vested with the High Court.

Agreeing with the same, Singhvi sought to argue the matter and bring out 12 points. However, Justice Kaul was of the opinion that it would be better to await the decision of the High Court.

After the Order was passed, Singhvi apprised the Judges that Oza had apologized on a number of occasions. "However, it was said that I haven't apologized and even if I did it would not be accepted. Then it was said when I apologized that I didn't argue on merit", he added.

Senior Advocate Shekhar Naphade on behalf of Oza also voiced his support and said that he had served well for many years, and though he had slight temperamental issues, Oza has got a heart of gold.

Yatin Oza himself also clarified that he was indeed apologetic for his words and averred that the action was taken against him because he was the President of the Gujarat High Court Advocates' Association

"I know my words have caused great harm. I apologize from my heart. It is not a paper apology", he clarified.

"Let's see what we can evolve, all I can say is the consequences will hopefully be minimal", responded Justice Kaul.

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