The Supreme Court on Thursday restored the Senior designation of Gujarat lawyer Yatin Oza for a period of two years with effect from January 1, 2022.
Importantly, the Court said that extension of Senior designation beyond two years will be at the discretion of the Gujarat High Court after taking into account the conduct of the veteran lawyer.
"We are of the view that the ends of justice would be served by seeking to temporarily restore the designation of the petitioner for a period of two years from 1.1.2022. It is the High Court which will watch and can best decide how the petitioner behaves and conducts himself as a senior counsel without any further opportunity. It will be for the High Court to take a final call whether his behaviour is acceptable in which case the High Court can decide to continue with his designation temporarily or restore it permanently," the judgment said.
The order passed by a Bench of Justices Sanjay Kishan Kaul and R Subhash Reddy stated that if there is any infraction in the conduct of Oza within this period of two years, the High Court would be well within its rights to withdraw the indulgence which we have given for two years.
"In effect, the fate of the petitioner is dependent on his appropriate conduct as a senior counsel before his own High Court, which will have the final say," the Court said.
The decision to withdraw Oza’s Senior gown was taken by the Gujarat High Court in July 2020 after he raised allegations of corruption against the High Court Registry.
Oza had appealed to the Supreme Court against the contempt judgment, while also filing a separate writ petition challenging the Full Court decision to withdraw his Senior gown.
The apex court had earlier asked the High Court in March to explore the option of keeping in abeyance its decision to strip Oza of the gown.
The Supreme Court had reserved orders in the matter earlier this month.