Mumbai :  Yet another bench of the Bombay High Court has recused itself from hearing a petition pertaining to Adarsh housing society.

“Not before us,” said a bench of Justices N H Patil and V L Achiliya when the petition filed by activist Praveen Wategaonkar came up for hearing.

Justice Achiliya said he was the secretary of the Law and Judiciary department before becoming a judge of the High Court and in that capacity had dealt with the files of Adarsh society. Hence, it would not be proper for this bench to hear the matter.

This is the second bench to have recused itself from an Adarsh petition this year. In all, five HC benches have recused themselves from an Adarsh petition.

Recently, a division bench of Justices V M Kanade and Girish Kulkarni recused itself. It was said that justice Kulkarni had appeared in the court for the Ministry of Environment and Forests when he was a lawyer.

Former judge Hosbet Suresh said that it was a very technical issue. “Lawyers became judges and if somehow they were related to the subject matter or parties, they can not hear the case,” he said.

Petitioner Wategaonkar had sought a direction to the CBI to make former Maharashtra minister Shivajirao Patil-Nilangekar an accused in the case of alleged benami transactions in Adarsh Housing Society.

The petition alleged that Patil, during his tenure as state revenue minister, had granted certain approvals to the society illegally. In return, his son-in-law was allotted a flat in the plush high rise building in south Mumbai.

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