HC ‘gambling den’ remark: 2 weeks for Gujarat lawyer to file reply

The Gujarat High Court on Tuesday granted two weeks’ time to the president of Gujarat High Court Advocates’ Association Yatin Oza to file a reply on a suo motu criminal contempt notice issued against him.

The division bench of Justice Sonia Gokani and Justice NV Anjaria allowed Yatin Oza to file his reply on affidavit in another two weeks on a criminal contempt notice issued by it over his remark on June 6 calling the court a ‘gambling den’ and an institute which caters only to litigants with means and money power, smugglers and traitors.

Oza’s lawyer Kruti Shah sought time from the court to file a reply to the affidavit, which it granted, keeping the matter for hearing on July 1.

The High Court had last week slapped a criminal contempt notice against Oza, a senior lawyer, for making the remarks during a live press conference on Facebook.

The court called his remarks “extremely unfortunate and absolutely unpalatable”, and said he made “false and contemptuous allegations of corruption, malpractices against the administration of the High Court”.

The HC observed that Oza called it a gambling den to spread sensationalism, and slapped him with notice for criminal contempt under sections 2(c) and 15 of the Contempt of Courts Act.

The court said Oza’s remark that it “caters only to the litigants with means and money power, smugglers and those who are traitors, and that the court would kick away those who do not belong to the big industrial houses or construction industry or having innumerable means” were scurrilous.

“These scurrilous remarks appear to have been made without any substantive basis and without any intent to know the truth as also without approaching the honourable Chief Justice for any inquiry as the head of the institution,” the court said.

“Bar president has by his scandalous expressions and indiscriminate as well as baseless utterances attempted to cause serious damage to the prestige and majesty of the High Court and, thereby, of independent judiciary as also attempted to lower the image of entire administration and also created demoralising effect among the administrative wing,” the court said.

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