GHCAA President Yatin Oza
GHCAA President Yatin Oza
Litigation News

Criminal contempt notice against GHCAA President Yatin Oza for accusing Gujarat HC of corruption in FB presser, calling it a "Gambling Den"

Meera Emmanuel

The Gujarat High Court has issued a suo motu criminal contempt notice to the President of the Gujarat High Court Advocates' Association (GHCAA) Yatin Oza in view of irresponsible, sensational and intemperate allegations of corruption allegedly levelled against the High Court and its Registry in a live press conference via Facebook (Suo Motu v. Yatin Narendra Oza).

As summarised in the order passed on Tuesday by the Bench of Justices Sonia Gokani and NV Anjaria, Oza is stated to have made the following, among other, accusations against the High Court and its Registry:

  • Corrupt practices are being adopted by the Registry of the High Court of Gujarat;

  • Undue favour is shown to high-profile industrialists and smugglers and traitors;

  • The High Court functioning is for influential and rich people and their advocates;

  • The billionaires walk away with orders from the High Court in two days whereas the poor and non-VIPs need to suffer;

  • If the litigants want to file any matter in the High Court, person has to be either Mr Khambhata or the builder or the company. This also was circulated in Gujarati daily Sandesh titled as ‘Gujarat High Court has become a gambling den - Yatin Oza’.

The Court observed that these "scurrilous remarks appear to have been made without any substantive basis and without any intent to know the truth as also without approaching the Honourable the Chief Justice for any inquiry as the Head of the Institution."

Further, the Bench noted that Oza appeared to have been fully aware that his actions may invite the initiation of contempt proceedings, finding that "he gave an open challenge to the authority of this Court in the very interview which is even worse than the very action."

"The President in his “complete consciousness and with total responsibility“ as declared by him in his interview called this August Institution a ‘Gambling den’ and an Institute which caters only to the litigants with means and money power, smugglers and those who are traitors."
Gujarat High Court

The Court proceeded to opine that Oza had behaved in the most reckless manner in levelling false and contemptuous allegations of corruption, malpractices against the administration of the High Court, which also included categorical allegations of forum shopping which the Court asserted was without any valid or true basis.

Gujarat High Court
Gujarat High Court
"He has thereby questioned the very credibility of High Court Administration and raised fingers at some of the Honourable Judges indirectly with scandalous remarks of a few Advocates being successful in getting their matters circulated in three courts and also getting contemplated orders."

In view of these observations, the Court proceeded to direct the registration of a suo motu criminal contempt case against Oza, finding that,

"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."

In passing the order, the Bench also noted that Oza had already faced criminal contempt proceedings before the Supreme Court. Back then, the Court had closed the contempt case on an unconditional apology and "thinking that ‘ the regret, the apology and repentance shall see the appellant (Oza) in a different incarnation.’"

"We are at pain to note that nothing changed", the High Court Bench noted.

The Court has also decided to look into whether Oza should be stripped of his designation as a Senior Advocate. To this end, the order states,

"We also deem it appropriate to place before the Chief Justice for consideration at the hands of the full Court whether to divest the stature of respondent under contempt, of designation of a senior Counsel under the circumstances."

Read the Order:

Suo Motu v. Yatin Narendra Oza - Gujarat HC order.pdf
Preview

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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