Gujarat HC: Oza stripped of ‘senior advocate’ designation

The Gujarat High Court on Tuesday stripped lawyer Yatin Oza, who was issued a notice of criminal contempt by the court, of his designation as senior advocate.

The decision was taken in a full court meeting of the high court convened on July 18 and a notification was issued by the Registrar General of the high court on Tuesday.

The move comes after the court took suo motu cognisance of a press conference held by Gujarat High Court Advocates’ Association (GHAA) president Oza on May 9. The court took serious objection to him raising his “accusing fingers…against the High Court, High Court Administration and the Registry by irresponsible, sensational and intemperate delivery in an interview” during the press conference, which was also live-streamed through Facrbook.

Oza had alleged the HC Registry of favouring lawyers with “billionaire clients” and alleged nepotism in getting matters circulated, following which the court initiated criminal contempt proceedings against him.

The full court, in its July 18 meeting, “unanimously resolved” to review and recall the full court decision of October 25, 1999, where Oza was designated as a senior advocate.

The notification issued on Tuesday states that the decision was taken “in exercise of powers conferred under Rule 26 of the High Court of Gujarat- Designation of Senior Advocates Rules, 2018.”

The rule states that if a senior advocate is found guilty of conduct, which according to the full court, disentitles the senior advocate concerned to continue to be worthy of the designation, the full court may review its decision and recall the same, provided the full court gives an opportunity of hearing to the person concerned before any action is taken.

At the time of initiating criminal contempt, the high court had also put forth for consideration before the full court to rescind Oza’s designation as a senior advocate.

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