Monday, March 20, 2023

Yatin Oza case: Supreme Court to pronounce order on October 28

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The Supreme Court on Thursday said it will pass an order in the plea filed by Advocate Yatin Oza against the Gujarat High Court order, which had held him guilty of contempt of court in a suo motu contempt proceedings initiated against him.

“We are trying to work something out. We need some time. Its a difficult task for us, to do something between what the High Court is saying and what you are saying. We should have an order ready by the next date,” observed the Bench comprising Justices Sanjay Kishan Kaul and R. Subhash Reddy. 

Senior Advocate Abhishek Manu Singhvi, appearing for Oza, submitted that he has gone through enough and had already submitted his unconditional apology. The spirit and thinking process is important in these things, noted the Advocate. 

Justice Sanjay Kishan Kaul said, “We have no doubt what has been done is wrong. He is the leader of Bar, who knows the law and is aware of it.”

The bench told Advocate Nikhil Goel, who appeared for the High Court of Gujarat, that there is no need to peruse additional documents and applications again. “We have heard your stand, also heard your arguments as well,” it said and listed the matter for orders on October 28 at 2 pm. 

After hearing the submissions of both parties on September 1, the apex court had kept the matter for today, to examine on the certain aspects raised by both parties before the bench, the ramifications of such issue raised.

On November 5, 2021, the Court in its order had noted, “The execution of the punishment awarded was suspended in terms of Para 65 of the order challenged in Criminal Appeal No 669/2020 for 60 days, which expires before the next date and thus the said protection will continue till the next date.” 

The Supreme Court earlier suggested that Yatin Oza be put on probation for a year and two consecutive six-month periods, so that his conduct and behaviour are observed. The bench of Justice Sanjay Kishan Kaul and Justice R, Subhash Reddy made this suggestion to the Gujarat High Court, while hearing the Yatin Oza contempt case.

The Apex Court said that on the basis of such observation, the Gujarat High Court shall decide if he is worthy of being a Senior Advocate and till then, Oza can keep his gown of Senior Advocate with him. 

The court also observed that when a man who has been the President of Bar Council of Gujarat High Court for 17 times, and who has also been an MLA for two terms, should certainly know the impact of his word on the general public. 

The Counsel appearing for the Gujarat High Court submitted that this is not the first time he has committed a contemptuous act, rather he has committed such acts earlier also and this time, 23 Judges of the High Court have found him guilty of Criminal Contempt of Court under Section 24-A of the Advocates Act and therefore, he should be stripped of the privilege of being a Senior Advocate.

Oza’s counsel will make submissions on March 17. His senior designation was withdrawn by the full court comprising 23 judges of the High Court of Gujarat on July 18 after a suo motu case had been initiated against him for making allegations of corruption against the court registry in an online press conference on Facebook.

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