Ahmedabad, 30th October 2023: A startling incident at the Gujarat High Court has ignited controversy as a judge expressed anger during a hearing, marking an unprecedented occurrence in the High Court’s history. The incident unfolded as Justice Biren Vaishnav, the fourth-senior-most judge, engaged in a heated dispute with colleague Justice Mauna Bhat, culminating in a tense moment captured during a live-streamed court hearing, subsequently going viral on various social media platforms.
The dispute arose during a case concerning an income tax audit spanning the last six years. The disagreement emerged over Justice Vaishnav allowing a fresh audit at the request of the Income Tax Department, while a dispute arose over the issuance of a final order without the court’s permission. Expressing his discontent, Justice Vaishnav threw the file onto the table, addressing his colleague, “If you disagree, give a separate verdict… Don’t whisper.”
The incident, occurring on 23 October, garnered widespread attention due to the live-streaming of the court hearing. Recognizing the gravity of his actions, Justice Vaishnav promptly issued an unconditional apology on October 25 before the court proceedings resumed. “I apologize for what happened on Monday. I made a mistake. I apologize for that, and we’ll start working,” acknowledged Justice Vaishnav, recognizing the inappropriateness of his conduct.
Following the video’s circulation on social media, the Gujarat High Court directed YouTube to remove the footage. Despite efforts to curb its dissemination, the contentious video content remains widely shared across various platforms. The incident has sparked considerable discussion and debate within legal circles regarding the decorum and conduct expected during court proceedings.