Transparency in judiciary: Bombay High Court judge reveals her husband met litigant

Mumbai: Setting an example of ‘transparency in judiciary’ a Bombay High Court judge recently disclosed in an open courtroom that one of the litigants, a Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader, in a case she was dealing with, had met her husband and given him a bouquet, at a public event. The disclosure was made by Justice Mridula Bhatkar of the Bombay High Court, who is seized with a petition filed by Congress leader Sanjay Nirupam challenging the election of BJP’s Gopal Shetty to Lok Sabha in the 2014 general elections.

Justice Bhatkar has been hearing Nirupam’s petition for the last four years now and has also examined several witnesses in the case. The judge had reserved the matter before Diwali vacations and is presently dictating her final judgment in the matter. After the court resumed from Diwali holidays, Justice Bhatkar called on the parties and informed them of the ‘meeting’ between her husband with Shetty at a public function.

Justice Bhatkar’s husband is Ramesh Bhatkar, Marathi actor and son of renowned Marathi music director – Snehal Bhatkar. As soon as the matter was called on, Justice Bhatkar said, “In between, during the Diwali vacation my husband who happened to be present in a public function, which was in memory of my father-in-law, was given a bouquet by Shetty. He (Shetty) being a Member of the Parliament (MP), was invited on that occasion by the organisers, with whom my husband has no connection.”

“My husband was not aware of the matter which is going on before me, therefore, I thought that it is necessary to disclose this fact to both the parties,” Justice Bhatkar clarified. Justice Bhatkar accordingly asked the parties – Nirupam and Shetty – to decide if they are okay with her to decide their legal dispute after this meeting. Both Nirupam and Shetty, through their advocates, told the court that they have no objection and want Justice Bhatkar to proceed with their matter.

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