The Gujarat High Court has issued a criminal contempt notice to Senior Advocate Mr Yatin Oza, President, Gujarat High Court Advocates’ Association for making serious allegations against the High Court Administration and Registry terming the institution as a ‘Gambling Den’ and an institute which caters only litigants with means and money power.
The Court has restrained Mr Oza from making of any scandalous remarks or holding official meeting and passing any resolution or circulating any material or communicating directly or indirectly either himself or through others in relation to the subject matter of contempt.
A two-judge bench of Justice Ms Sonia Gokani & Justice N. V. Anjaria while issuing a Criminal Contempt proceedings against Mr Oza said, “This suo motu contempt proceeding has been initiated by the Court in wake of extremely unfortunate and absolutely unpalatable event that took place in the midst of Pandemic of COVID- 19 where accusing fingers have been raised against the High court , High Court Administration and the Registry by irresponsible, sensational and intemperate delivery in an interview by the President of the GUJRAT HighCourt Advocates’ Association ,the Senior Advocate Shri Yatin Oza in his capacity of the office bearer of GHCAA.”
The Court noted in its order wherein the Apex Court had closed the Contempt proceedings in a case earlier against Mr Oza by accepting his unconditional apology and had said, “The regret, the apology and repentance shall see the appellant in different incarnation.”
The High Court said, “We are at pain to note that nothing changed and the hope and expectation of the honorable Apex Court belied of a new incarnation, of dignified behavior, obedience to norms of professional ethics and sustenance of decorum of institution for sustaining nobility of profession.”
“COVID 19 pandemic has taken the entire world in its grip and the state of Gujarat is not an exception. It in fact is one of the worst affected states and particularly the city of Ahmedabad has the highest mortality rate in the state. The government of India declared lock down from 25th March 2020 and continued the same up to 31 May 2020 . Relaxation has come with certain precautions,” added the Court in its order.
The Court said, “We noticed the live press conference telecast on www.facebook.com by the President of the GHCAA by calling the journalists of various Print and electronic Media ostensibly to espouse the causes of Junior advocates and those litigants having no or less means, and made serious allegations of corruption against the registry and also categorically alleged Forum shopping in no uncertain terms without any valid, significant or true basis.”
“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. 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,” said the Court.
The Court noted in its order, the allegations made by the President Mr Oza in press conference against the High Court:
- corrupt practices being adopted by the registry of the High Court of Gujarat,
- undue favour is shown to high-profile industrialist and smugglers and traitors,
- The High Court functioning is for influential and rich people and their advocates,
- The billionaires walk away with order 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 HighCourt has become a gambling den – Yatin Oza’
The Court said, “From 24/3/2020 till 8/6/2020 ,in fact, the total numbers of matters filed before the High court including the civil Applications are 5039 and 3147 have been registered and 8182 are listed and 4057 are disposed of, where majority of them are of those who are having extremely meagre means. Without caring for the truth, riding on the wave of populism, he appears to have crossed all limits by condemning recklessly the Institution. Being fully aware that his actions and above referred utterances are scandalous and capable of initiating proceedings of Contempt, he gave an open challenge to the authority of this Court in the very interview which is even worse than the very action.”
The next date of hearing is June 16, 2020.
Read the Order here;
-India Legal Bureau