Guj HC rejects Oza’s apology; refuses to return his senior designation

A full court of the Gujarat High Court, in an administrative order, unanimously rejected the unconditional apology tendered by advocate Yatin Oza and refused to give back his senior designation for calling the High Court and its registry a ‘gambling den’ and “an institute which caters only to the litigants with means and money power, smugglers and those who are traitors”.

The full court was considering a representation of Oza filed on August 10 in light of the Supreme Court’s decision, which required the full court of the High Court to revisit its decision divesting Oza of his senior designation as he had tendered an unqualified apology for his remarks.

“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”, the full court said.

The apology at such a belated stage, the full court said, even if it is assumed to be sincere and bonafide had to be rejected as the same had “paled into insignificance” in view of the irreparable damage cause to the prestige and honour of the Institution

The full court questioned why Oza expected the High Court to show magnanimity and pardon him for his misconduct? Why could not he exercise restraint and behave in a manner befitting a designated senior counsel?

“A very well articulated and conscious attack mounted on the institution and that too for no good cause or reason should not be overlooked, pardoned or ignored”, the High Court said.

Background

On June 9, a division bench of Justices Sonia Gokani and N.V. Anjaria, while issuing Oza a contempt notice, had placed the matter before the Chief Justice of the High Court for consideration by the Full Court on whether to divest Yatin Oza of designation as a Senior Counsel for his alleged derogatory and contemptuous remarks against the High Court.

On July 21, the Full Court of the High Court had stripped Yatin Oza of his Senior Advocate designation. A Full Court of the High Court had taken a unanimous decision to this effect in its meeting held on July 18.

The contempt proceedings against Oza on the judicial side are still pending in the High Court.

On an appeal filed by Oza challenging the decision of the full court, the Supreme Court had requested the full court of the High Court to revisit its decision in view of the unqualified apology tendered by Oza.

A two-judge bench of the Supreme Court comprising Justices Sanjay Kishan Kaul and Ajay Rastogi was of the opinion that in view of Oza’s unqualified apology, the High Court should first apply its mind to the issue before it could take a call on the merits of the case.

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