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]

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]


SCC Online is now on Telegram and Instagram. Join our channel @scconline on Telegram and @scconline_ on Instagram and stay updated with the latest legal news from within and outside India

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/