Hearing the matter of criminal contempt by Gujarat High Court Advocates’ Association (GHAA) president Yatin Oza, which was taken suo motu cognisance of by the Gujarat High Court (HC), a division bench on Wednesday took on record Oza’s past behaviour of “maligning the court” which was done with “malafide intent”.
In an intervening application moved by GHAA member and advocate Amit Panchal, it was highlighted that Oza “is trying to browbeat the judges and belittle the institution.” For the same purpose, Panchal had sought that in view of the unconditional apology being issued by Oza, Panchal as an “informer” must highlight earlier instances of contemptuous behaviour on Oza’s part by bringing additional material to light.
While the division bench headed by Justice Gokani disallowed Panchal from being added as a party, it permitted that Panchal’s contentions regarding Oza’s past misconduct be taken into record. The court reasoned that a party who brings contemptuous conduct to the notice of the court is only an informant or relator, and not the litigant.
The material produced was a letter written by Oza addressed to the Chief Justice of the Gujarat HC, “making serious allegations against one of the sitting judges,” which was then circulated on WhatsApp.
The HC had taken objection to “certain specific utterances in the nature of allegations and remarks in respect of the functioning of High Court alleging corrupt practice,” held by Oza in June.
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