Advocate Yatin Oza is Liable of Contempt of Court as held by Gujarat High Court

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A bench including Justice Sonia Gokani and Justice N.V. Anjaria ruled the verdict in the Criminal Contempt case that was Suo Motu commenced by Gujarat High Court against Adv. Yatin Oza in which he remarks false public allegation regarding mala fide administration of Justice System in the High Court. The Court imposed on him a fine of Rs. 2,000 and punishment till the rising of the Court The contemnor Yatin Oza was made liable for punishment u/s 12, The Contempt of Court Act, 1971.

Also Read: In Temporary Bail have to Balance the Public Interest in the Enforcement of Criminal Justice with the Rights of the Accused: SC

Brief Facts

  • Adv. Yatin Oza was president of Gujarat High Court and in 1999 he was given the title of the senior advocate which was revoked by the court on July 18.
  • In May, there was a live Facebook Conference where he alleged High Court Registry was following corrupt practices and was biased by giving extra benefits to Industrialists and smugglers. Oza accused the Court registry of engaging in “favouritism, nepotism and forum shopping”.
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  • The Gujarat HC took suo moto cognizance of Oza’s statements and initiated contempt proceedings observing that
    “As the Bar President has by his scandalous expressions and indiscriminate as well as baseless utterances have attempted to cause serious damage to the prestige and majesty of the High Court and thereby of an independent judiciary as also attempted to lower the image of entire Administration and also created demoralising effect amongst the Administrative wing, this court in the exercise of powers conferred under Article 215 of the Constitution of India, prima facie finds him responsible for committing the criminal contempt of this Court within the meaning of Section 2(c) of the Contempt of Courts Act and takes cognizance of such criminal contempt against him under Section 15 of the said Act.”
  • In August, the Court rejected to take Oza’s apology as it was not bonafide and it lacked sincere actions as he has previous repeated acts and records indicating contempt of court, which include 2006 and 2016 contempt case where he apologised and was pardoned by the court. So, Court held him liable for contempt as he was on such responsible position of president of a council where his words and expression caused grave damage to the court’s prestige.
  • Later, Oza approached Supreme Court against contempt plea and stated that he was offering an unconditional apology for his mistake of giving remark on High court registry but SC rejected the plea and directed to discuss the matter by the high court itself.

Also Read: Prashant Bhushan: Whether Guilty of Contempt or A Victim Of Politics?

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