Case BriefsHigh Courts

Gujarat High Court: A.S. Supehia, J., addressed a bail application revolving around a matter concerning a 20-page suicide note.

Instant application was filed to seek bail in connection with FIR for the offences punishable under Sections 306, 465, 477, 120B and 114 of the Penal Code, 1860.

It was submitted that First Informant was a follower of Khodiyar Dham Ashram and the same was being run by Jayramdas Bapu. It was alleged that on 01-06-2021 he received a call that something happened to Jayramdas Bapu and on reaching the ashram it was noticed that he passed away.

It was alleged that a suicide note by Jayramdas Bapu was found from his room containing 20 pages in which deceased named three accused. It was stated in the note that the accused people caused mental and physical torture to bapu and had recorded the videos of bapu in compromising conditions with some ladies due to which bapu committed suicide.

Further, it was alleged that the death certificate certifying that the deceased passed away of natural death i.e. cardiac arrest with incorrect time of death issued by one Dr Kamlesh Kareliya of Dev Covid Care Center, was in fact issued at the behest of the applicant.

The role, which is sought to be alleged and played by the applicant, is that when he examined the dead body of the deceased, the applicant being a doctor, did not prescribe for the postmortem of the deceased and by issuing such certificate, he had tried to save or shield the main accused.

High Court while granting the bail to the applicant considered following:

(a) The role attributed to the applicants;

(b) The applicant is not named in the F.I.R.;

(c) The applicant is a doctor, who was treating the deceased since last several years;

(d) Prima facie, the F.I.R. reveals that there is no monetary ill-gain by the applicant;

(e) Prima facie, the ingredients of Sections 306, 107 as well as 465 of the IPC are not established in the case of the applicant;

(f) The suicide note, which is left by the deceased does not implicate the applicant in any manner and there are no allegations leveled against the applicant in this regard in the F.I.R.;

(g) Considering the facts of the case, the custodial interrogation of the applicant at this stage is not necessary.

Bench relied upon the following Supreme Court cases:

Sushila Aggarwal v. State (NCT of Delhi), (2020) 5 SCC 1 and

Siddharam Satlingappa Mhetre v. State of Maharashtra, (2011) 1 SCC 694

In view of the above, the present application was allowed.[Nilesh Gopalbhai Nimavat v. State of Gujarat, R/Criminal Misc. Application No. 10810 of 2021, decided on 16-07-2021]


Advocates before the Court:

MR YOGESH LAKHANI, SENIOR ADVOCATE WITH MR APURVA R KAPADIA(5012) for the Applicant(s) No. 1

MR MITESH AMIN, PUBLIC PROSECUTOR WITH MR HIMANSHU K PATEL, APP for the Respondent(s) No. 1

Case BriefsCOVID 19High Courts

Gujarat High Court: The Division Bench of Vikram Seth, CJ and Bhargav D. Karia, J., framed certain points for consideration of the State and directed it to submit an affidavit, while further hearing a matter initiated suo motu by the High Court taking note of the COVID-19 situation in the State.

After the Court suggestions made on 12-04-2021, Core Committee headed by Chief Minister and Deputy Chief Minister notified the immediate decisions.

Bench flagged the following issues for consideration of the State and for an appropriate response for being incorporated in its next affidavit.

  • It was brought to the Court’s notice that RTPCR testing laboratories are not available in all the districts of the State, what to say of the towns/talukas and tribal areas. The State to ensure setting up of such laboratories in all the districts where it is not available, also in the towns/talukas and tribal areas of the State as early as possible. For this, the State may explore public private partnership mode or any other mode which may encourage setting up of such laboratories throughout the State.
  • Existing capacity for RTPCR testing be increased across the State in order to reduce time for collection of sample and getting the report ready after analyzing the sample. The delay in getting an RTPCR sample being collected and the further delay being caused in getting the report, may be forthwith reduced.
  • Accurate reporting of RTPCR testing with correct figures of positive results be made public. The State should not feel shy of publishing the correct data of RTPCR testing results, if such figures are not being correctly reported.
  • Remdisivir injection which at present is being looked at as a life saving drug for Covid­19 virus infected patients, when apparently it is not so, should be explained and communicated to the public at large by the experts of the subject in the State through print, digital and electronic media. Otherwise so long as the myth continues, Remdesivir injection will always be in a deficit and being misused by black­marketeers and hoarders.
  • On­line portal giving details of the availability of vacant beds and occupied beds under different categories for Covid patients for all districts be controlled by the State. Instead of data being uploaded twice a day, the availability of beds should be displayed on a real time basis on the portal
  • As assured by Trivedi, Advocate General, the availability of oxygen would be sufficient to cater to the demands within three to four days in view of the efforts to procure the same by the State. The status of availability of oxygen vis-a-­vis demand be reported to the Court.
  • State should publish data by making efforts to find out actual number of Covid positive cases so as to remove general conception from the minds of the people that data given by the State is not accurate.
  • State must come up publicly in a transparent and fair manner with complete details with regard to availability and modalities of the required amenities, medication and related infrastructure for the treatment of the Covid patients, who require either facility of Covid care center, hospitalization with oxygen, ventilator, medicines, etc.
  • Any material or facility or infrastructure, if lacking in required numbers should be accepted by the State publicly and remedial steps should be taken immediately to improve the situation.
  • It is only when the State declares that it has requisite essential infrastructure, medication and treatment facilities available with supporting infrastructure, then only the rush for acquiring medicines, hoarding of medicines, buying medicines at higher price, exploitation by the unscrupulous sector would be stopped.
  • To achieve the above, State needs to have honest and transparent dialogue with the public which should be communicated to one and all through print, electronic and social media.
  • Honest and transparent dialogue by the State would generate trust amongst general public so as to know the grave situation prevailing at the current times which may persuade the public at large to strictly abide by the standard protocol of wearing mask, keeping social distance, sanitization by frequent hand washing, etc, as prescribed and known to all.

Court added that in the present situation State is not expected to provide all the essential infrastructure, medication and treatment facilities at once, but if the people are taken into confidence with regard to the efforts being made by the State to take care of the people suffering from the pandemic, the people at large would definitely cooperate and appreciate the efforts being made by the State.

While concluding, it was requested by the High Court that parties seeking intervention are requested to sit together, deliberate and address the Court through one voice.

Matter to be listed on 20-04-2021.

State to come up not only to the expectations of the Court but the public of the State at large.

[Suo Motu v. State of Gujarat, R/WP (PIL) No. 53 of 2021, decided on 15-04-2021]

Case BriefsHigh Courts

Gujarat High Court: G.R. Udhwani, J., dismissed a petition wherein a mandate was sought to issue an order/ circular / instructions directing all non-banking financial companies such as respondent 3 to refrain from taking steps for recall of loans availed by various persons or for liquidating securities pledged or available with them, during the period of a moratorium until 31-08-2020 as may be extended by respondent 1.

The petitioner was a borrower and respondent 3 was a financier. The Court observed that from the bare perusal of the prayer clauses evidently, the petition was more in the nature of requiring this Court to undertake the activity of banking regulations upon itself and pass omnibus orders directing the respondents more particularly the respondent 1 to come up with the policy decision as desired by the petitioner.

The Court held that such a petition cannot be maintained, assuming that it is maintainable, even on merits, no case is made out; inasmuch as, the entire case proceeds on the misconception as to the applicability of the statement on the development and regulatory policy.

The Court was unable to find any provision in the policy above-stated bearing on the maintaining of the margin, consequently dismissed the petition.[Seetha Kumari v. Reserve Bank of India, R/Special Civil Application No. 7942 of 2020, decided on 07-07-2020]


Suchita Shukla, Editorial Assistant has reported this brief.

Hot Off The PressNews

In a case of a death in judicial custody, the National Human Rights Commission, India has set aside the conclusion of an Additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate of Ahmedabad that it was natural.

On the basis of the material on record, NHRC has held that the Under Trial Prisoner died due to the negligence and torture by the jail officials of Sabarmati Central Prison, Ahmedabad on 29-05-2017 and that the Judicial Enquiry Report is shady in nature and hence, cannot be relied upon.

Further, expressing serious concern over the order of the concerned judicial officer, the Commission has directed its registry to bring the matter to the notice of the Chief Justice of the Gujarat High Court for consideration of taking necessary action on the presence of such Judicial Officers.

The Commission has noted in its proceedings in the matter under case no Case No.487/6/1/2017-JCD that “it is very surprising & shocking to know that though 22 ante mortem injuries over the body of the deceased were clearly reflected in post mortem report, but still enquiry magistrate i.e. ACMM, Ahmedabad, Gujarat had stated that no injury was found to be present on the deceased. The Chief Justice of Gujarat High Court has to seriously consider the presence of such Judicial Officers in public domain.”

The NHRC has also issued a notice to the Chief Secretary, Govt. of Gujarat, to show cause why not an interim relief of Rs 3 Lakh should not be recommended to be paid to the Next of the Kin, NoK of the deceased Under Trial Prisoner, as his human rights were violated by the delinquent Jail officials, Director General of Police, Gujarat has been asked to submit a detailed report in the matter along with criminal case registered and progress in the matter. The response is expected within four weeks.

The Commission, as per its standing guidelines, had registered the case on the basis of an intimation from Supdt. Central Prison Ahmedabad Gujarat on 31.05.2017 regarding the death of UTP Ashok @ Lalit on 29.05.2017.

On the directions of the Commission, its Investigation Division informed that the victim under trial prisoner was in the custody of Sabarmati Central Prison, Ahmedabad since 27.05.2017. He was arrested in case no. 5261/15 u/s 66(1)(b), 65(a) Prohibition Act by PS Maghaninagar. Within two days on 29/5/2017, he fell ill and was sent to the Civil Hospital, Ahmedabad for treatment where he died on the same day at 16.38 hrs.

The postmortem was done by a panel of four doctors, which revealed 22 ante-mortem injuries from head to toe on the person of the deceased. The cause of death was kept preserved. Later, after viscera & HPE, the FCOD was given as death due to shock and hemorrhage as a result of injuries sustained over the body. However, in the magisterial enquiry the ACMM, Ahmedabad, Gujarat concluded that the health screening report, as well as inquest report, revealed that no injury was present on the person of the deceased. During the magisterial enquiry, the family members did not complain of anything and based on the statements of doctors & jail officials, so he concluded that there was no direct or indirect evidence that the deceased was physically or mentally tortured or ill-treated during custody and without any evidence.

The Commission noted that the Under Trial Prisoner was normal at the time of entry into the jail and died within two days of his entry into the jail. The strong scientific & biological forensic evidence cannot be undermined as far as the cause of death is concerned. This is also a fact that he was in jail for the past two days before his death in the hospital. Hence, there is no point in accepting that his death was natural. This is a clear case of unnatural death in the judicial custody of Sabarmati Central Jail & hence State is vicariously responsible for the same. Further, the Commission held that the statements of the family members of the victim after his death bear no relevance as the victim was in jail and the family members may not have met after the injuries, when he was alive.


National Human Rights Commission

[Press Release dt. 08-01-2021]

Appointments & TransfersNews

President, after consultation with the Chief Justice of India, transfers Justice Vineet Kothari, Judge of the Madras High Court, as a Judge of the Gujarat High Court and to direct him to assume charge of his office in the Gujarat High Court.

ORDER


Ministry of Law and Justice

Case BriefsHigh Courts

Gujarat High Court: The Division Bench of J.B. Pardiwala and Vireshkumar B. Mayani, JJ., while addressing the issue of grant of permanent alimony to a Muslim Woman noted the significant difference between permanent alimony and periodical maintenance.

An instant appeal under Section 19 of the Family Courts Act, 1984 was filed at the instance of the original defendant (husband) and was directed against the judgment and decree passed by Principal Judge, Ahemdabad for a decree of divorce under the provisions of Dissolution of Muslim Marriages Act, 1939.

Analysis, Law and Decision

Question for consideration:

Whether the Family Court committed any error in passing the order of permanent alimony in favour of the wife while granting the decree of divorce to the wife?

There are two types of alimony:

1. Given at the time of court proceedings- This is usually the maintenance amount.

2. Given at the time of legal separation- This can be given either in a lump sum or as a fixed monthly or quarterly payment or as per the requirements of the spouse.

Supreme Court on a creative and meaningful interpretation of the MWPRDA, 1986, upheld its constitutionality. It held that a Muslim husband is liable to make reasonable and fair provision for the future of his divorced wife extending beyond the Iddat period.

In the Supreme Court decision of Shabana Bano v. Imran Khan, (2010) 1 SCC 666, the question that fell for consideration was whether a Muslim Divorced wife would be entitled to receive the amount of maintenance from her divorced husband under Section 125 CrPC, and if yes, then through which forum.

In the above decision of the Supreme Court, it was held that petition under Section 125 CrPC would be maintainable before the family court as long as the wife does not remarry. The amount of maintenance to be awarded under Section 125 of the CrPC cannot be restricted for the Iddat period only.

Main Argument

The most significant submission on behalf of the appellant was that no provision exists in the Dissolution of Muslim Marriage Act, 1939 for the maintenance or permanent alimony. Further, it was stated that Family Court had no jurisdiction to pass any order with respect to maintenance or permanent alimony once the suit is allowed and the marriage is dissolved at the instance of the wife.

Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Divorce) Act, 1986

The Muslim Women Act is “to protect the rights of Muslim women who have been divorced by or have obtained a divorce from their husbands and to provide for matters connected therewith or incidental thereto.

Hence the Muslim Women Act professes to deal with Muslim divorced women and their rights against their former husbands.

Family Court

Bench observed that, where a Family Court has been established, the power and the jurisdiction of the Family Court under Section 7(2) of the Family Courts Act, 1984 to entertain an application for maintenance, even by a divorced Muslim wife, under Chapter IX of the Code of Criminal Procedure has not been taken away, either expressly or even by implication by the Muslim Women Act of 1986.

And once such an application is made to a Family Court under Section 7(2) of the Family Courts Act, and not to a Magistrate, the same has got to be disposed of by the Family Court in accordance with the provisions of Chapter IX of the Code of Criminal Procedure, and the Muslim Women Act of 1986, including its Section 5, would have no manner of application.

Matrimonial Property

Further, it was stated that the right to maintenance and right in the matrimonial property are the consequences of the marriage or its dissolution. Those reliefs are incidental to the main relief of ‘dissolution of marriage’ and therefore, these reliefs are very much an integral part of the decree of ‘dissolution of marriage’.

Section 4 of the Act, 1986

It was also sought to be argued on behalf of the appellant that in view of Section 4 of the Act, 1986, the former husband had no liability to make any provision for the Post-Iddat period.

Bench observed that the right of maintenance given to the wife and the minor children under the provisions of the Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Divorce) Act, 1986, is in addition to the right, which the minor children are having under Muslim Law to get maintenance from the father. The law expects that the parties should not be driven to approach the different forums but in one forum itself, they should be granted whatever reliefs to which they are entitled.

Supreme Court in the decision of K.A. Abdul Jaleel v. Shahida, (2003) 4 SCC 166 was concerned with the provisions of Section 7 of the Family Courts Act, 1984 as to whether the Family Court had the jurisdiction to adjudicate upon any question relating to the properties of the parties not only of the subsisting marriage but also divorced parties and the Supreme Court was pleased to hold that the reason for the enactment of the Family Courts Act, 1984, was to set up a Court to deal with all the disputes concerning with the Family and it is now a well-settled principle of law that the jurisdiction of a Court created specifically for the resolution of disputes of certain kinds should be construed liberally.

Wife has remarried

Counsel submitted that the wife was remarried and in view of there was no question of any lump sum permanent alimony.

Bench observed that

A divorced Muslim woman is entitled to receive, from her husband, inter alia, “maintenance”, “reasonable and fair provision”, “Mahr” etc. under Section 3 of the Act, 1986.

Permanent Alimony

Bench stated that what is significant to note is that the relief of permanent alimony is a relief incidental to the granting of the substantive relief by the Court in the main proceeding. It is an incidental relief claimed in the main proceeding, though an application is necessary for claiming it.

The Supreme Court had the occasion to consider the question whether a Muslim woman obtaining a divorce under the provisions of the Act, 1939 is entitled to maintenance under Section 125 CrPC, and it was held in Zohara Khatoon v. Mohd. Ibrahim, (1981) 2 SCC 509 that there are three distinct modes in which a dissolution of marriage can be brought about and Clause(b) of the Explanation to Section 125(1) envisages all the three modes, whether a wife is divorced unilaterally by the husband or where she obtains divorce under the other two modes, she continues to be a wife for the purpose of getting maintenance under Section 125 of the Code.

The Supreme Court held that divorce resulting from the dissolution of marriage under the provision of Dissolution of Muslim Marriage Act, 1939 is also a legal divorce under the Mohammedan law by virtue of the Statute (1939 Act).

Conclusion

Bench observed that when the Court would make an award of permanent alimony or for one-time payment, it is not founded on any stipulation that any part of the sum would be either actually refunded in whole or in part. Such sum is not granted on the condition against remarriage for all times to or for any particular period.

The permanent alimony in a way is an estimated sum in a lump sum to discharge the judgment debtor from his future liabilities unconditionally.

The grant of periodical payment by way of maintenance to a divorced wife is in recognition/obligation to the spouse to maintain her so long as she enjoys the continued status of a divorcee.

On remarriage status of divorcee comes to an end and she acquires another marital status as someone’s spouse. Under the Act, 1986 as under Section 125 CrPC, the wife includes a divorcee.

In view of the above discussion, it can be said that:

when the wife remarries, her claim of maintenance primarily comes to stand against her new husband coming into existence in a new relationship.

The proposition of law laid down by the Court should be looked into keeping in mind Section 3(1)(a) of the Act, 1986.

A divorced woman is entitled to ‘a reasonable and fair provision” and “maintenance” to be made and paid to her within and post the Iddat period by her former husband.

Point-wise Conclusion of the decision:

  • After the Act of 1939, a wife had a statutory right to obtain a divorce from her husband through the Court on proof of the grounds mentioned in the Act.
  • The ex-wife, having obtained a divorce from her erstwhile husband under the provisions of the Act, 1939 is entitled to the reasonable and fair provision under Section 3 of the Act, 1986.
  • The Family Courts Act has in its comprehension all community including the Muslims. All disputes between the Muslim community within the purview of the Family Courts Act are to be settled by the Family Courts.
  • Dispute contemplated by Section 3 of the Act, 1986 is within the purview and four corners of the Family Courts Act as the dispute under Section 3 of the Act, 1986 also relates to matrimonial relations between the parties.
  • Right of maintenance and right in the matrimonial property are the consequences of the marriage or its dissolution.
  • The Law contemplates that the husband has two separate and distinct obligations; (I) to make “reasonable and fair provision” for his divorcee wife and (ii) to provide “maintenance” for her. The obligation to make a reasonable and fair provision for the divorced wife is not restricted until the divorced wife remarries. It is within the jurisdiction of the Family Court to pass an order for a lump sum amount to be paid to the wife in the discharge of the obligation of the husband under Section 3(1)(a) of the Act, 1986 and such order cannot be modified upon remarriage of the divorced Muslim wife.
  • Provision for permanent alimony is incidental to the granting of a decree or judicial separation, divorce or annulment of marriage.
  • The permanent alimony in a way is an estimated sum in a lump sum to discharge the husband from her future liabilities unconditionally.
  • If the wife gets remarried, her status of divorcee comes to an end and the liability of the husband to pay periodical maintenance would also come to an end.

Another significant observation of the High Court was which was placed by the counsel for the parties was that the appellant had remarried way back in the year 2014. Before the respondent herein instituted the proceedings in the Family Court for divorce, the husband had already remarried and raised a family. The appellant could do so because polygamy is permissible amongst the Muslim Community. It does not constitute an offence of bigamy punishable under Section 494 of the Penal Code.

The materials on record indicated that the husband hardly paid anything towards maintenance. The respondent had to leave her matrimonial home soon after the marriage, i.e., sometime in 2010. Ultimately, she was constrained to institute the proceedings of divorce in the Family Court. Even during the pendency of such proceedings, nothing was paid to the wife. The wife, ultimately, succeeded before the Family Court in getting the marriage dissolved and was also successful in getting an order of permanent alimony. The husband now cannot turn around and say that he is not liable to pay the lump sum amount because the respondent is remarried.

Hence, in Court opinion, the Family Court’s line of reasoning ad the ultimate conclusion that was drawn by the family court was just and proper.

Therefore the appeal was dismissed.[Tarif Rashidbhai Qureshi v. Asmabanu, 2020 SCC OnLine Guj 711, decided on 19-03-2020]


Advocates who appeared for the parties:

Nishant Lalakita for Appellant 1

Javed S Qureshi for Appellant 1

SP Majmudar for Defendant 1

Shashvata U Shukla for Defendant 1

COVID 19Hot Off The PressNews

Justice G.R. Udhwani

Justice G.R. Udhwani of Gujarat High Court passed away while undergoing treatment for Coronavirus (COVID-19).

[Source: PTI]

BACKGROUND

Born on 25-11-1961 at Ahmedabad in the family of a businessman. Graduated in B.Com from Navgujarat Mahavidhyalaya, Ahmedabad in 1983. Obtained Law Degree from Sir L.A. Shah Law College, Ahmedabad in the year 1986. Was enrolled as an Advocate with Bar Council of Gujarat on 30-06-1987.

Joined the legal profession in 1987 in the High Court of Gujarat. Practised in the High Court of Gujarat in all fields of law i.e. Company Matters, Labour Matters, Industrial Matters, Service Matters, Constitutional Matters, Civil and Criminal Matters. Appointed as Judge in City Civil Court at Ahmedabad on 12-02-1997. Was appointed as Additional Judge, Special Court (POTA) on 18-10-2003. Was appointed as Law Officer on 22-07-2004, which was redesignated as Registrar (Legal) on 01-11-2004 in the High Court of Gujarat. Was repatriated to the State Judiciary as Judge, City Civil Court, Ahmedabad on 13-07-2007. Was appointed as Registrar (Infrastructure & Information Technology) on 18-05-2010 in the High Court of Gujarat. Worked as Incharge Registrar General, High Court of Gujarat from 17-02-2011 to 19-06-2011. Was appointed as Registrar General, High Court of Gujarat from 20-06-2011 to 11-11-2012.

His Lordship was elevated as an Additional Judge, High Court of Gujarat on 12-11-2012 and confirmed as Permanent Judge on 10-07-2014.

 

Case BriefsHigh Courts

Gujarat High Court: A.C. Rao, J., dismissed a bail application in connection with an FIR registered for the offences under Sections 302, 201 and 114 of the Penal Code, 1860.

The counsel for the applicant, B.M. Mangukiya contended that the victim was drunk and fell down in the well, but the complainant had got up the story of throttle and thrown. It was vehemently contended that there was no mark of resistance found on the body of the victim, only one nail injury was found on the neck of the victim, so it is an only plausible explanation to the fact that he was not killed as relied on the prosecution and therefore, the present application may be released on bail. The counsel for the respondent, H.K. Patel submitted that this was a successive bail application and previous bail application was withdrawn. In the present application, the applicant has not stated anything about the previous withdrawal, so the successive bail application was not maintainable, except there is a change in circumstances.

The Court referred to the judgment of the Supreme Court in Kalyan Chandra Sarkar v. Rajesh Ranjan, (2005) 2 SCC 42 where it was held that,

“this Court also observed that though the accused has a right to make a successive application for grant of bail, the Court entertaining such subsequent bail applications has duty to consider the reasons and grounds on which the earlier bail applications were rejected and in such cases, the Court also has a duty to record what are the fresh grounds which persuaded it to take a view different from the one taken in the earlier application.”

The Court while dismissing the application observed that the previous bail application was withdrawn after the filing of charge sheet and this bail application is also filed after filing of charge sheet. The advocate for the petitioner has not been able to point out any change in the circumstances, thus no ground is made out by the petitioner.[Rakesh Makhabhai Bamaniya v. State of Gujarat, 2020 SCC OnLine Guj 1801, decided on 20-10-2020]


Suchita Shukla, Editorial Assistant has put this story together

Case BriefsHigh Courts

Gujarat High Court: A.G. Uraizee, J., dismissed a petition which was filed aggrieved by the dismissal of Revision Application by the Secretary, Forest and Environment Department which had upheld the order of the Deputy Collector.

Respondent 7 was the Sarpanch of Jetpur Gram Panchayat, according to the petitioner, by misusing the position of Sarpanch, around more than 150 trees standing on Gauchar land of village Jetpur, were cut in violation of law and sold for the monetary benefits. The petitioner had therefore filed an application before the District Development Officer for removal of respondent 7 from the post of Sarpanch. As a result, respondent was removed from the post of Sarpanch under Section 57(1) of the Gujarat Panchayat Act. The respondent challenged her removal by filing Appeal before the Deputy Collector who had partly allowed the Appeal and set aside the order of removal and remanded the case to the Mamlatdar, Bayad, for fresh consideration. Consequently, District Development Officer reinstated the respondent 7 on the post of Sarpanch. Aggrieved by which the petitioner had filed Revision Application before the Secretary, Forest and Environment Department which was dismissed. The present petition was filed aggrieved by the dismissal.

The Court observed that petition made it abundantly clear that the procedure under Section 57 of the Panchayat Act were initiated against the petitioner on the basis of the complaint/application filed by the petitioner with Mamlatdar, Bayad on account of felling of 153 trees and that the Mamlatdar, Bayad, after receipt of complaint about felling of the trees did not conduct the proper inquiry and Panchnama of place of incident was not prepared in presence of Range Forest Officer. They also found that the Mamlatdar had imposed punishment of fine on the basis of a presumption that 150 trees felled and there was no solid proof that the respondent, who had herself felled the trees. The Court while dismissing the petition mentioned that the matter is remanded for fresh consideration in light of the observation made in the order and all concerns will get an opportunity of hearing. Thus, the lower Authorities have given sound reasons for setting aside the removal of respondent 7 from the post of Sarpanch and remanded the matter for fresh consideration.[Patel Ramanbhai Hargovanbhai v. State of Gujarat, 2020 SCC OnLine Guj 45, decided on 21-01-2020]


Suchita Shukla, Editorial Assistant has put this story together

Hot Off The PressNews

Appointments of Judges

President appoints the following to be the Judges of Gujarat High Court:

  • Vaibhavi Devan Nanavati
  • Nirzarkumar Sushilkumar Desai
  • Nikhil Shreedharan Kariel

Here’s the notification: APPOINTMENT


Ministry of Law and Justice

[Press Release dt. 01-10-2020]

Case BriefsSupreme Court

Supreme Court: The 3-judge bench of SK Kaul, Aniruddha Bose and Krishna Murari, JJ has said that it would wait for the order of the Gujarat High Court before passing any orders in the issue relating to withdrawal of senior Designation of advocate Narendra Oza.

The Gujarat High Court had, on August 26, 2020, rejected the request for restoration of the gown of the senior counsel and had rejected the apology offered by Oza. The matter has been listed for further consideration September 17, 2020. Taking note of this fact, the bench said,

“On hearing learned counsels for the parties, we are of the view it would be appropriate that both aspects are taken together after the orders are pronounced in the contempt petition. List on 29th September, 2020, at the end of the Board.”

The Court gave liberty to the Oza’s counsel to serve a copy of the appeal, in case Oza is aggrieved by the orders in the contempt petition and of sentence, if any, on the counsel for the High Court and if the same is served well in advance, response to the same can be filed by the High Court.

The bench of SK Kaul and Ajay Rastogi, JJ had earlier, on August 6, 2020, said,

“Grievances may exist but can always be conveyed in a better language. Systems can be improved but imputations should not unnecessarily be made.”

Noticing that the contempt proceedings are still pending and in view of his unconditional apology both before the Full Court, the contempt proceedings and before the Supreme Court, the bench had considered it appropriate that the contempt court itself first applies its mind to the issue.

Oza, who is also the the President of the Gujarat High Court Advocates’ Association, was 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”. Read more

[Yatin Narendra Oza v. High Court of Gujarat, 2020 SCC OnLine SC 724, order dated 09.09.2020]


Also read:

Gujarat HC withdraws GHCAA President Yatin Oza’s Senior Advocate status

Guj HC | Mere apology may be no reason to an act, utterance or publication of contempt which scandalize the majesty of Court; Advocate Yatin Oza’s unconditional apology rejected

Guj HC | President GHCAA levelled allegations of corruption, malpractices against HC Registry & called this August Institution a ‘Gambling Den’; Contempt Proceedings initiated

Yatin Oza offers unconditional apology; SC says one can improve system without imputations

Full Court of Gujarat HC rejects Yatin Oza’s unconditional apology and denies to re-confer his Senior Advocate Designation

Case BriefsHigh Courts

Gujarat High Court: A Division Bench of Sonia Gokani and N.V. Anjaria, JJ., while rejecting the unconditional apology of the Yatin Oza, observed that,

“Entire gamut of facts when dispassionately and objectively viewed, we are unable to accept these words as true words of remorse and contrition and therefore, request to accept apology even if termed as unqualified, cannot be acceded to.”

Gambling Den

Respondent Yatin Narendra Oza is the President of the Gujarat High Court Advocates’ Association and was designated as a Senior Advocate of the Bar and in a press conference, he uttered certain statements showing the institution of the Gujarat High Court in very low esteem and terming it as a gambling den.

Suo Motu Notice

On 9-06-2020, suo motu notice was issued taking cognizance by way of the said act, utterances, statement and representations under the Article 215 of the Constitution and under the Cotempt of Courts Act, 1971.

Notice under Section 17 of the Contempt of Courts Act came to be issued to the respondent which was accompanied by the order and the entire material on record.

On 10-06-2020, Full Court of the Gujarat High Court unanimously resolved that proceedings for cancellation/withdrawal of conferment of designation of senior advocate to Yatin Oza be initiated forthwith.

On 18-07-2020, Full Court ended up with the decision.

Disentitled to continue to be worthy of Senior Advocate Designation

Full Court taking view that the President of the Advocates’ Association and the Senior Advocate was guilty of the conduct which has disentitled him to continue to be worthy of the designation of the Senior Advocate, the Full Court had reviewed its earlier decision dated 25th September, 1999 designating him as Senior Advocate and recalled the said decision.

Unqualified Apology

Respondent on 11-08-2020, filed an additional affidavit reiterating that he had no intention whatsoever of scandalizing or lowering the authority of the High Court and further requested to accept the unqualified apology he was tendering.

Section 12 of the Contempt of Court Act

Court while considering the materials on record referred to Section 12 of the Contempt of Court Act which deals with the punishment for contempt of courts while considering the issue whether the apology by a contemnor could be accepted or rejected.

It is not sine qua non to hold a person guilty before the apology is accepted as the provision of the Contempt of Courts Act itself permits both eventualities as mentioned above in Section 12 of the said Act, to discharge an alleged contemnor, if apology is tendered before further proceeding with the matter or for remission of punishment at the end of full fledged trial/proceedings.

“…a deliberate attempt to scandalize the Court which would shake the conscience of the litigating public in the system would cause a very serious damage to the name of the judiciary.”

Court while relying on a nuber of cases, relied on L.D. Jaikwal v. State of U.P, (1984) 3 SCC 405, wherein the Court was more than emphatic that merely because the appellant tendered his apology, he should not go unpunished, otherwise all the persons would intimidate a Judge by make grossest imputation against him, scandalize him and later tender formal empty apology, which costs him practically nothing.

Bench in the present case discharged the respondent on not being satified with the apology.

Not only the present strength of the Bar and Bench and the members of Registry but all those who have in the past 60 years have given their toil and blood to this institution to bring it to the present level, ought to have been regarded.

Further the Court observed that soon after the notice of contempt was issued by this court on 9-06- 2020, the respondent approached the Supreme Court seeking the quashment of notice and although it is right of every litigant to approach the highest court of the country against any action of the court below, this aspect is to be examined when the timings of tendering the apology assumes importance.

Weapon of Unconditional Apology

Bench observed that every time scurrilous remarks against the Judges and the institution are made and when he realises that there is no escape route, the weapon of unconditional apology comes to his rescue.

A clear and loud message is a must to be sent that we are open to every healthy criticism respecting the fundamental right of freedom of expression and at the same time, we are obligated not to permit any attempt to tarnish the image of the Institution.

Therefore Court while refusing to accept Advocate Yatin Oza’a unconditional apology and denying to re-confer him Senior Designation, stated that

“To accept any apology for the conduct of this kind and to condone it would tantamount to a failure on the part of the High Court as an institution of the judiciary to uphold the majesty of the law, the dignity of the institution and to maintain the confidence of people in the judiciary.” [Suo Motu v. Yatin Narendra Oza, 2020 SCC OnLine Guj 1175, decided on 26-08-2020]


Read More:

Guj HC | President GHCAA levelled allegations of corruption, malpractices against HC Registry & called this August Institution a ‘Gambling Den’; Contempt Proceedings initiated

Yatin Oza offers unconditional apology; SC says one can improve system without imputations

Full Court of Gujarat HC rejects Yatin Oza’s unconditional apology and denies to re-confer his Senior Advocate Designation

Hot Off The PressNews

Gujarat High Court’s Full Court rejects Yatin Oza’s apology and denied to re-confer him Senior Designation.

On 21-07-2020, Senior Advocate Yatin Oza was stripped off his Senior Advocate designation as a consequence of his attempt to cause damage to the prestige of the Gujarat High Court.

Following allegations were made by the President of GHCAA against the registry of Gujarat High Court:

  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’

Gujarat High Court by 09-06-2020 observed that,

President by his scandalous expressions and indiscriminate as well as baseless utterances attempted to cause damage to the prestige of the High Court and attempted to lower the image of Administration, thus Court found him responsible for committing the criminal contempt of this Court under Section 2(c) of Contempt of Courts Act and took cognizance of the same under Section 15 of the said Act.

Later, the Supreme Court of India on 06-08-2020, while deferring the matter for 2 weeks, said that

“as a leader of the Bar and as a senior member, a far greater responsibility is expected of him to not only be more restrained but also to guide the younger lawyers in these difficult times.”

[Story to be updated]

Appointments & TransfersNews

Collegium Statement

Supreme Court Collegium approves the proposal for elevation of the following Advocates as Judges of the Gujarat High Court:

  • Vaibhavi Devang Nanavati,
  • Nirzarkumar Sushilkumar Desai, and
  • Nikhil Shreedharan Kariel.

Supreme Court of India

[Collegium Statement dt. 14-08-2020]

Case BriefsSupreme Court

“Grievances may exist but can always be conveyed in a better language. Systems can be improved but imputations should not unnecessarily be made.”

Supreme Court: In the case, where Gujarat High Court had withdrawn the Senior Advocate status of advocate Yatin Oza after he had levelled charges of corruption against the registry of the Gujarat High Court, the bench of SK Kaul and Ajay Rastogi, JJ deferred the matter for 2 weeks and said that

“as a leader of the Bar and as a senior member, a far greater responsibility is expected of him to not only be more restrained but also to guide the younger lawyers in these difficult times.”

The Court was apprised of the fact that Oza has been a leader of the Bar and has made considerable contribution but at times has exceeded his brief in expressing his sentiments in a language which is best avoided. This appears to be another incident of the same nature as in the past.

Oza, however, told the Court there was an unqualified apology even before the Full Court and before the Court seized of the contempt matter. He submitted that his statements were uncalled for which he deeply regrets and assured not to ever in future repeat such conduct.

On this the Court noted,

“the petitioner himself has been quite apologetic before us and states that he should not have used the words he used and those words were used in the heat of the situation where everybody is troubled by the prevailing problem of Covid and the grievances of the younger members of Bar.”

Noticing that the contempt proceedings are still pending and in view of his unconditional apology both before the Full Court, the contempt proceedings and before the Supreme Court, the bench considered it appropriate that the contempt court itself first applies its mind to the issue.

Oza said that he has no hesitation in saying that he has apologized unconditionally and will apologise unconditionally in the contempt proceedings and pray for bringing to closure those proceedings. He said that he will also make a representation to the Full Court stating that the deprivation of his gown for the existing period already is sufficient punishment for him and he stood chastened and that the Full Court may reconsider the aspect of the restoration of the senior’s gown rather than depriving him for all times to come.

The Court, hence, deferred the matter by two weeks in the hope that, in the meantime, a finality would be given to the matter by the contempt court. The matter will now be heard on August 26, 2020.

Advocate Yatin Oza, who is the president of the Gujarat High Court Advocates’ Association (GHCAA) was 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”. Read more

[Yatin Narendra Oza v. High Court of Gujarat, 2020 SCC OnLine SC 628, order dated 06.08.2020]


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Case BriefsHigh Courts

Gujarat High Court: A Division Bench of Vikram Nath, CJ and P.B. Pardiwala, J., while addressing an issue with regard to the live streaming of the Court proceedings held that a committee to work out the modalities for the said purpose has been constituted comprising of two Judges of this Court.

A law student raised the issue with regard to the Live Streaming/Open Access of the Court proceedings and in the public interest Gujarat High court should work out the necessary modalities for the said purpose.

Bench on perusal of the material on record, stated that to observe the  requirement of an open Court proceedings, members of the public should be allowed to view the Court hearings through video conferencing except the proceedings ordered for the reasons recorded in writing to be conducted in-camera.

Right to Know and receive information is one of the facts of Article 19(1)(a) of the Constitution and for which reason the public is entitled to witness the Court proceedings.

As, the above-stated Court proceedings involve the issue impacting the public at large or a section of the public.

Bench appreciated the efforts of the 3rd year law student appeared in person in the public interest.

Further, in line of the above-stated observations, Bench stated that to work out the modalities to facilitate the people at large including the media to watch the virtual hearing, Committee of two Judges of this High Court has been constituted pursuant to Standing Committee’s decision on 25-06-2020.

In the near future, a report of the committee is expected after which to allow access to the public at large including the media persons of print digital and electronic media shall be finalized.

Petition was disposed of in view of the above. [Pruthvirajsinh Zala v. Gujarat High Court, 2020 SCC OnLine Guj 1055 , decided on 20-07-2020]

Hot Off The PressNews

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

[2] https://www.scconline.com/blog/post/2020/06/10/guj-hc-president-ghcaa-levelled-allegations-of-corruption-malpractices-against-hc-registry-contempt-proceedings-initiated/

COVID 19Hot Off The PressNews

7 persons (6 staff members of the High Court Registry and one constable from the Vigilance Department) were found to be COVID -19 positive.

It was further communicated that as per the latest COVID control strategy adopted by the Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation, any area in which 3 or more COVID -19 cases are found positive, the said area is declared as Micro Containment Zone and there is complete restriction of movement in such Containment Zone for atleast 14 days.

After due deliberations, Standing Committee passed the following resolution:

“…Premises of the High Court be shut down for 3 days starting from Wednesday 8th July to 10th July, 2020.The Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation to carry out a thorough and comprehensive exercise for cleaning and sanitising the entire premises of the High Court, Judicial Academy and Auditorium , including inside of the buildings such as chambers, officers, record rooms, washrooms, etc., during this period.

Judicial functioning of the High Court will remain suspended for the above period.”


Gujarat High Court

Circular dt. 07-07-2020

Appointments & TransfersNews

Supreme Court Collegium has approved the proposal for elevation of the following Judicial Officers as Judges of the Gujarat High Court:

1. Ilesh Jashvantrai Vora,
2. Gita Gopi,
3. Ashokkumar C. Joshi, and
4. Rajendra M. Sareen


Supreme Court of India

[Collegium Statement dt. 12-02-2020]

Appointments & TransfersNews

High Court of Gujarat in a Full Court meeting on 13-08-2019, has designated 12 Advocates as Senior Advocates, which are as follows:

  • Devang Sudhir Nanavati 
  • Mitesh Ramanbhai Amin
  • Satyajeet Atul Desai
  • Jal Soli Unwalla
  • Asim Jayantbhai Pandya
  • Hasmukh Mohanlal Parikh
  • Bharatkumar Shanubhai Patel
  • Iqbal Hasanali Syed
  • Maulin Ramesh Raval
  • Gautam Mansukh Joshi
  • Mahendrakumar Babubhai Gandhi
  • Tushar Pramodchandra Hemani

[Notification by High Court of Gujarat]

Dated: 13-08-2019