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Early life and background

• Graduated from IIT Delhi, followed by a degree in law from University of Delhi.
• Enjoyed a successful career as an academician and later as IT consultant, prior to getting into law.
• Travelled extensively across the globe and has come back enriched with a world-view on citizen-centric governance and administration.
• Aggrieved and concerned by India’s failing governance and judicial system, Mr. Bharti quit the lucrative career of an IT Consultant to study law.

Born, on May 10, 1974, to Late Sri Sitaram Bharti, a spiritual wanderer, and Mrs. Manorama Rani Bharti, a school teacher, Mr. Somnath Bharti was brought up in a semi-urban place called Hisua in District Nawada, Bihar. In childhood itself, deep concern for children hailing from poor and disadvantaged families had manifested on many occasions and at times, he was seen gifting his new clothes to them. His father’s spiritual life influenced everyone in the family and so was the case with Somnath Bharti. Bharti started practicing meditation under his father’s able guidance which later got embedded in his personality and has become an integral everyday ritual in his otherwise hectic life. He is the eldest son and second of the three children (two brothers and one sister) of his parents. His elder sister Smt. Divya Stuti is a classical music teacher and his brother Mr. Loknath Bharti, a computer software engineer.
After completing his initial schooling from Bihar and going through a tough but interesting academic journey, Mr. Bharti earned M.Sc. from IIT Delhi in 1997 followed by LLB from Delhi University. A young boy of 18 years when Bharti came to Delhi, he had to go through unimaginable hardships in his initial days. He lived in a common dormitory at Sri SisGanj Gurdwara Sahib for a good number of days before some kind-hearted gentleman offered him one room in Barf khana, Roshanara Road at a rental of Rs. 180 a month. During his college days, he participated actively in dramatics and his brilliance in Drama won him many awards. For making the ends meet and financial sustenance during his school and college days, Mr. Bharti gave tuition on various subjects especially Mathematics. He was called a mathematics wizard as he gave tuitions for class 10th Olympiad mathematics when he himself was in class 8th, this is what gave his parents the confidence to send him to Delhi for pursuing higher education.
After completing M.Sc. Mr. Bharti initially worked in the coaching sector and coached students for IIT Entrance Examination in Mathematics and then he moved to entrepreneurship and started a software business Bharti Infotech Pvt. Ltd. which was later bought by Bharti group of Sri Sunil Mittal of Airtel fame. During the famous Dot-Com bubble, which busted finally in the year 2000, Mr. Bharti had developed a marriage portal which though didn’t last long and had to be closed because of the Dot-Com bubble burst. As his heart was always in serving the motherland and the fellow citizen, he opted to do law and completed his law degree from Law Center-II, Delhi University and started practicing in Delhi High Court and Supreme Court of India. He practices civil as well as criminal law but the majority of his time goes in fighting for public interest issues through PILs. Through his law firm Bharti & Associates (Advocates and Corporate Lawyers) he continues to fight for the poor and helpless and for public interest causes.
Though Mr. Bharti has raised countless public interest issues through PILs but the following three are worth mentioning.
In 2009, Mr. Bharti fought for the rights of a fellow IITian Mr. Vikram Buddhi from IIT, Mumbai who was incarcerated in US Jail under a conspiracy in which, to the best of his beliefs, even Govt of India was involved. He was the first Indian to meet Mr. Buddhi in Jail in Chicago and with his efforts and after incarcerating Mr. Buddhi for over 3 years, US courts finally pronounced his sentencing. The matter had caught everyone’s eyes then including the media.
In June 2012, Bharti was involved in a campaign against the alleged interference of the then Minister of Human Resources and Development, Mr. Kapil Sibal, in the Joint Entrance Examination process for admission to Indian Institutes of Technology. In 2010-2013, he defended the rights of homeschooled children and subscribers of the alternative education system in view of the binding provision of the Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Act through Public Interest Litigations filed in Delhi High Court thrice. In response to his PILs, the Ministry of Human Resources and Development, through an affidavit, clarified that they are not against homeschooling.
In Dec. 2012, post Nirbhaya when thousands had gathered at India gate to show their anger against the govt, Delhi Police, possibly at the behest of the then UPA govt and in order to bring fear in the agitating crowd, charged nine youth with the murder of Constable Tomar and put them behind bars. It was Mr. Bharti who first bailed out the young men and then succeeded to prove that the death of Constable Tomar was due to heart attack and not by any assault by anyone what to say of the arrested nine youth. Within two months of the case, Delhi Police admitted in Delhi High Court their mistake and thus Mr. Bharti succeeded to save not only these nine youths but their families too from getting ruined.
Even after taking up law as a career mainly focusing on Judicial Reforms and repeatedly questioning the governance system of the country in the courtroom by filing numerous Public Interest Litigations on various issues on behalf of the helpless, the poor and the illiterate of the society, he soon found himself engulfed into repetitiveness of his actions to bring relief to the marginalized section of the society. The next logical step became more evident when a sitting Judge during the course of an argument hinted that the present legal framework is not designed to bring a permanent solution to the problems he was bringing to the courts and the solution falls in the domain of the legislature. This realization took him to prominent leaders across all the prominent parties and after speaking to them he realized that making fundamental reforms with the sole aim of improving the governance was not on the agenda of any political party.
During the PanIIT annual event held in Noida in 2010, Mr. Bharti met Mr. Arvind Kejriwal, the present Chief Minister of Delhi and since then they have been together in all aspects. Mr. Bharti represented almost all team members of Anna Andolan including Dr. Kiran Bedi in the courts. Mr. Bharti became the founder member of AAP when it was formed on Nov 26, 2012.
When Mr. Bharti was asked by his party to contest from Malviya Nagar constituency in 2013, he approached a spiritual guru to seek permission to enter into active politics. The spiritual guru allowed him to join with a rider that through politics he would do “निष्काम सेवा (Selfless service)” and since then his every minute in politics has remained driven by that goal.
He was elected as the AAP candidate for the Malviya Nagar constituency in the Delhi state assembly elections, 2013 and was Minister of Law, Tourism, Administrative Reforms, Art & Culture in the Government of Delhi, from December 2013 to February 2014. During his tenure as law minister, he initiated 19 major reforms including the audio-visual recording of the court proceedings for the reason of complete transparency. He was elected again by the people of Malviya Nagar constituency in Feb 2015 by double the margin than the last time when Delhi gave unprecedented mandate of 67 out of 70 seats in Delhi assembly to AAP. Possibly first of its kind, Mr. Bharti requested Mr. Kejriwal not to make him a minister in AAP’s second govt at Delhi because he wanted to serve every individual of his constituency and for that he would need time.
To establish a new political culture wherein people come to politics not to make wealth but to do “मानव सेवा” through political power, he started a mission to spiritualize politics because he believes that only spiritually oriented people, people who draw strength from within and not from accumulated wealth and position, can bring good to humanity. Today he is known in his constituency for his unparalleled availability to his people. Mr. Bharti has proven to be a popular speaker on “Spiritualization of Politics- why and how?”. His commitment to his mission can be ascertained from the following three programs he runs in his constituency.
  1. Complete Decentralization of power: By dividing his constituency into 35 mohalla sabhas and making an official WhatsApp group for each of these mohalla sabhas, people can bring problems to the notice of Mr. Bharti even at midnight from the comfort of their bedroom i.e. transcending the barriers of time and distance and get responses within minutes. Problems get resolved within 24 hours of their posting if it pertains to the departments which fall within the scope of Govt of Delhi.
  2. Meal with MLA: After coming to politics, Mr. Bharti believes that his family is no longer restricted to his blood relatives but stands expanded to his entire constituency. Driven by the same, Mr. Bharti has designated days for every Mohalla Sabha and every day he has one meal in someone’s house in that Mohalla Sabha. So far he has had a meal in over 900 houses in his constituency.
  3. Spend a day with your MLA: Believing that people of his constituency have rights to know every aspect of their MLA, Mr. Bharti started this flagship program where people come to his house early morning at 5 AM and remain with him throughout the day to understand what does their MLA do. By this program, Mr. Bharti has proved that there is nothing called privacy in a political person’s life. So far, this program has been availed by over 1000 people.
Association of Mr. Bharti with IIT Delhi Alumni Association has been since his passing out in 1997 and he served IIT Delhi Alumni Association as its Secretary for 2007-08 and 2011-12 and as IIT Delhi Alumni Association, President from 2012-13. He also served on Senate of IIT Delhi as representative of IIT Delhi Alumni Association for a year.
In 2017, IIT Delhi Alumni Association recognized the outstanding contributions made by Mr. Bharti towards the Nation’s Development by honoring him with OCND (Outstanding Contribution Towards National Development) Award.