Advocate Yatin Oza, who is the president of the Gujarat High Court Advocates’ Association (GHCAA) has been stripped off his Senior Advocate designation. This has been done after Advocate Oza had levelled charges of corruption against the registry of the Gujarat High Court. The Court cited Rule 26 of the High Court of Gujarat (Designation of Senior Advocates) Rules 2018, which states “In the event a Senior Advocate is found guilty of conduct which according to the Full Court disentitles the Senior Advocate concerned to be worthy of the designation, the Full Court may review its decision to designate the person concerned and recall the same”.

On June 10,  the following allegations were made by the President of GHCAA against the registry of Gujarat High Court in a live press conference held by him:

  1. corrupt practices being adopted by the registry of the High Court of Gujarat,
  2. undue favour is shown to high-profile industrialist and smugglers and traitors,
  3. The High Court functioning is for influential and rich people and their advocates,
  4. The billionaires walk away with order from the High Court in two days whereas the poor and non VIPs need to suffer,
  5. 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

Subsequently, the Division Bench of Sonia Gokani and N.V. Anjaria, JJ., initiated suo motu contempt proceeding,[1] stating that it was an extremely unfortunate event, wherein fingers had been raised against the High Court, Administration of High Court and Registry by irresponsible, sensational and intemperate delivery in an interview by the President of Gujarat High Court Advocates’ Association. The Court further noted that President of GHCAA had 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. The Court noted that, Advocate Oza had 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.[2] The Court found him responsible for committing the criminal contempt of thus Court under Section 2(c) of Contempt of Courts Act and took cognizance of the same under Section 15 of the said Act.

As reported by Indian Express, Advocate Oza subsequently challenged the High Court order before the Supreme Court. He contended that the Gujarat High Court had “committed grave error in taking cognizance and issuing a notice without adherence to Rule 11 of the Contempt of Courts (Gujarat High Court) Rules, 1984 which requires that court can only record reason and then refer it to the Hon’ble Chief Justice for it being placed before the Bench having the said Roster.” However, after the top Court orally expressed its disinclination to entertain the plea, Oza withdrew his petition before the Supreme Court.

Photo Credit: Ahmedabad Mirror

[1] Suo Motu v. Yatin Narendra Oza, 2020 SCC OnLine Guj 856 , decided on 09-06-2020


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