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The Supreme Court Bench of Justices Sanjay Kishan Kaul and Dinesh Maheswari today issued notice in the plea moved against the recall of GHCAA President, Yatin Oza's senior gown by the Gujarat High Court's Full Court after suo motu contempt proceedings were initiated against him.
On October 6, the Gujarat High Court pronounced Oza guilty of contempt over his allegations of corruptions by the Court's registry during a Facebook press conference.
The appeals filed over the issue has now been fixed for further hearing on November 5.
While doing so, Justice Kaul orally observed today that between the experience shared by the Court and the Senior Counsel appearing in the matter, a solution may be worked out to give a quietus to the case.
However, the hearing also saw Justice Kaul express anguish over the acerbic tone noticed when it comes to disagreements.
While agreeing that the Supreme Court may take a broader view of the matter and opining it needs a quietus, Justice Kaul remarked,
"I only hope people learn from it... I am finding that discourse - in every field, not only the legal field - is getting acerbic. If you look (in the past).. we have had differences, (but) we have worked it out together. …"
In the course of the hearing today, the Judge also observed,
"Ultimately, the Bench emerges from the Bar only. But there has to be application of mind for both sides to see that the working of the institution takes place. Normally we are able to balance these things out.
... These are unusual times, everyone has to appreciate it. It is difficult for everyone. We are all in the process of learning. World over people are learning…But … let the discourse be a little more palatable… I feel a great pain..."
Among those who appeared to urge that the top Court find a solution and grant some reprieve to Oza were Senior Counsel KV Vishwanathan, Aryama Sundaram, Arvind Datar, Dushyant Dave and AM Singhvi.
Vishwanathan submitted that it is not as if the matter is incapable of resolution, pointing out that the Oza had only taken up the GHCAA's cause.
Dave submitted that while the High Court cannot be faulted for its judgment, one does feel a little sad when looking at the penalty that the High Court has imposed.
As a superior Court, the Supreme Court may, however, take a broader view of the matter and find a solution, Dave added, while also pointing out that Oza has expressed his unconditional apology over the episode.
Singhvi chimed in, pointing out
" … the man (Oza) has learnt a lesson like never before, I will be very blunt… the man realises the spirit of what my Lord is saying…"
Singhvi added that even when Oza had given his explanation over his conduct, it was not to justify his behaviour but to put things in context.
"It's not that one doesn't understand the consequences", Justice Kaul responded.
He added that the Court was only reluctant on the issue of whether the parameters of the case should be expanded beyond giving reprieve to the affected party (Oza).
Sundaram clarified that it is not that the party wants to expand contours of the case. He added, however, that if the Court wishes to look at larger questions, the Association would want to assist the Court. He submitted that first aim is to see whether the matter can be resolved.
"We will find a solution, we will endeavour to find a solution... We will try to find a balance", Justice Kaul responded.
Datar weighed in that the notion of Oza being a "repeat offender" is not accurate. Justice Kaul, however, remarked that there must have been something to trouble the Gujarat High Court in this case, that it responded the way it did.
"The High Court felt very strongly", Justice Kaul observed.
The Judge remarked that while Oza may have been acting in the larger interest, "He has also outstepped his jurisdiction more than once. Therefore, the High Court was troubled."
Justice Kaul added,
All the same, it was informed that the Bench is not averse to looking into examining how the Supreme Court may play a larger role to settle the issue. Justice Kaul said,
"Ultimately I (Court) will take the call, I will shoulder it. What I require from all of you is, give a solution to this... I appreciate the stance taken by all senior counsel.. (in) trying to see how to resolve it. Let us try to confine it the case at hand. We should be able to find a solution between senior counsel and court.... I will see the file. I will look to some suggestions from all of you to see what will be a good quietus to the matter. I will apply my mind."
Whereas Vishwanathan told the Court that it can also consider extending the stay on the penalty imposed on Oza for contempt of Court, the Judge responded that it does not want to keep the matter pending for long.
"As a President of the a bar, I cannot make many submissions, because that would be self-incriminating", Dave remarked in lighter vein, as the hearing drew to a close.
Justice Kaul responded,
"You told me earlier that you trusted my shoulders to be broad enough (to take a magnanimous view)."
"Your Lordships command universal respect (from the members of the Bar) … the kind of respect you show, is (also) something really to be admired", Dave added.
The matter is now expected to be taken up on November 5.
“Lets try to do something on 5th of November”, Justice Kaul remarked, before moving on to the next case.