The Gujarat High Court on Tuesday held Yatin Oza, president of Gujarat High Court Advocates’ Association (GHAA), guilty of criminal contempt of the court and pronounced him convicted. Arguments on sentencing will continue on Wednesday.
The high court took cognisance of a press conference held by Oza on May 5 that was live-streamed through Facebook, and issued notice against him for criminal contempt later. The court observed that Oza had “levelled false and contemptuous allegations of corruption, malpractices against the administration of the High Court”. Oza alleged the court registry of indulging in “favouritism, nepotism and forum shopping”.
In July, the full court of Gujarat HC stripped Oza of his “senior advocate” designation and in August the court refused to accept Oza’s apology.
Legal representatives of Oza are expected to make a case for the minimum possible sentence on Tuesday, highlighting that he has been an esteemed member of the legal profession.
The division bench of Justices Sonia Gokani and NV Anjaria reasoned that Oza’s apology was “not bona fide” and lacked sincerity, while noting that his past record reflects “repeated acts and conduct of contempt”. These include instances of initiation of suo motu criminal contempt proceedings in 2006 and 2016 and apology tendered by Oza both times.
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