The Supreme Court on Thursday restored the senior advocate designation of Gujarat lawyer Yatin Oza, twice a Gujarat minister, for two years with effect from January 1, 2022, taking into account the conduct of the veteran lawyer.
A Bench of Justices Sanjay Kishan Kaul and R Subhash Reddy, which had reserved the decision early this month, left it to the discretion of the Gujarat High Court, which had disrobed him as a senior advocate beyond two years. It said ends of justice would be served by temporarily restoring his designation.
"It is the High Court, which will watch and can best decide how the petitioner behaves and conducts himself as a senior counsel without any further opportunity. It will be for the High Court to take a final call whether his behaviour is acceptable, in which case the High Court can decide to continue with his designation temporarily or restore it permanently," the judgment said.
The top court says: "If there is any infraction in the conduct of Oza within this period of two years, the High Court would be well within its rights to withdraw the indulgence which we have given for two years."
The High Court had divested Oza's senior gown in July 2020, after he raised allegations of corruption against the High Court registry as it found him guilty in suo motu contempt proceedings.
Oza had appealed to the Supreme Court against the contempt judgment, while also filing a separate writ petition challenging the Full Court decision to withdraw his Senior gown. The apex court had earlier asked the High Court in March to explore the option of keeping in abeyance its decision to strip Oza of the gown.
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