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GHCAA President's allegations of favouritism by Gujarat HC Registry factually baseless: Three-Judge Committee of HC [Read Report]

The Committee has also found that "The allegation that the staff of the Registry did not attend the e-mails or phones of the learned advocates, has no legs to stand."

Meera Emmanuel

A three-Judge Committee of the Gujarat High Court has concluded that the allegations levelled by GHCAA President Yatin Oza recently regarding favouritism by the Court's Registry in listing cases are factually baseless and irresponsible.

"The allegations by the President, GHAA about the Registry and its staff indulging into the acts of favouritism and nepotism in listing the cases or that the cases of influential parties and that of senior advocates were being listed to the discrimination of all other litigants and the advocates, are without any foundation of supportive facts... such allegations were found by the Committee to be only irresponsible, and at times, outrageous."
Committee Report

The Committee's findings were communicated by Chief Justice Vikram Nath on Wednesday. The Committee comprised Justices JB Pardiwala (Chairman) and Justices AJ Desai and NV Anjaria.

To arrive at its conclusions, the Committee states that it called on the Registry officials to produced the relevant physical records and sought for explanations from them over the allegations raised in Oza in his letter to the High Court Chief Justice. The letter was written in his capacity as the President of the Gujarat High Court Advocates' Association.

The report goes on to detail the explanations given against each alleged case of discrimination in case-listing by the Registry, ultimately finding that all advocates have been treated equally and that the allegations made to the contrary were without any foundation, based on hearsay and without verification of facts.

In this regard, the report has also referred to representations made by certain lawyers refuting or contradicting the allegations levelled in Oza's letter while referring to cases that they were appearing in.

The Committee also found that the allegation of the Registry refusing take lawyers' calls was unfounded. In this regard, it was noted that the Registry was receiving umpteen numbers of emails and queries from advocates. The Deputy Registrar in charge was answering about 150-180 calls every day, it was informed.

As such, the Commitee found that "The allegation that the staff of the Registry did not attend the e-mails or phones of the learned advocates, has indeed no legs to stand when viewed in the situation above."

Read the Committee Report:

Reply from Honble CJ to Shri Yatin Oza with report and annexures.pdf
Preview

The Committee's report was communicated a day after the Gujarat High Court initiated suo motu criminal contempt proceedings against Oza citing irresponsible, sensational and intemperate allegations of corruption levelled by him in a Facebook press conference against the High Court and its Registry.

On Thursday, Oza moved a plea before the Supreme Court challenging this High Court order. Notably, in his plea, Oza has also submitted that the passage of the contempt notice and its subsequent circulation may be linked to his "spearheading the fight for the fraternity and fight against the corrupt practices rampant in the registry."

Earlier this month, Oza had withdrawn his resignation as the GHCAA President after the Managing Committee of the GHCCAA unanimously rejected his resignation from the post of President. In 2018, Oza was elected as the GHCAA President for the fourteenth consecutive term.

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