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Oza contempt hearing: Gujarat HC rejects intervention application

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New Delhi: The Gujarat High Court has dismissed an intervention application in the suo motu contempt case against Gujarat High Court Advocates’ Association (GHAA) president Yatin Oza. The court has taken suo motu cognizance of the case as criminal contempt.

The application was from advocate Amit Manibhai Panchal, who had requested either of two alternative reliefs i.e., an impleadment to the proceedings to ‘assist the Court’, or that the material he produced be taken on record by the court. 

The bench of Justices Sonia Gokani and N.V. Anjaria is considering certain comments by Oza, deemed as contemptuous. The bench has taken on record Oza’s past behaviour of “maligning the court” which was done with “malafide intent”.

Panchal had submitted before the court that Oza allegedly circulated the details of a telephonic conversation with the Chief Justice of India in a High Court Advocates WhatsApp group. He also produced a letter supposedly written by Oza that was on the record in another case filed by Panchal and which was pending before the High Court.

Shalin Mehta, the amicus curiae appointed by the court, agreed with the applicant’s proposition that the court was permitted to consider material submitted by any party.

After taking considerations of the submissions before the court, the Court rejected the intervention application, and held: “No one has any statutory right to claim to be an intervener or to participate, because the complainant in the proceedings of contempt is between the court and the contemnor. It is exclusively the court’s discretion to take into account even the material which comes from a reliable source termed to be the material to initiate action of contempt whether to initiate the action on the basis of such material or not, even if it is found to be prima facie the material of contempt. No one can compel the court to initiate any action of contempt.”

The court has taken notice of the material placed before it by Panchal saying: “Any material which is authentic and is derived from any source which is not questionable, the court can make use of it without permitting anyone to implead himelf as an intervener. It being a material which is related, it is required to be taken on record.

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At request by Oza’s counsel to list this matter on August 24, the matter was accordingly adjourned.

Read the order here;

CR.MA12020-GJHC240248462020-10-19082020-1

– India Legal Bureau

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