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'Biases Are Alternative Life Experiences': Saurabh Kirpal On Govt's Objections

The government has objected to his appointment as a judge stating that his sexual orientation would lead to "bias."

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"To say that because you have a particular ideology, you are therefore biased, is a reason to stop appointing judges altogether. Because every judge would have some kind of view point owing to where they came from."

Those were the words of Senior Delhi High Court Advocate Saurabh Kirpal, whose appointment as a Delhi High Court judge has been objected to by the central government on the grounds that honesty about his sexual orientation would lead to "bias and prejudice."

Kirpal openly identifies as a gay man – and lives with his partner in New Delhi.

In response to the centre's objections, the Supreme Court collegium had, on 18 January, said that it was unconstitutional to reject someone based on their sexual orientation.

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Kirpal, who was speaking during a panel discussion at the Kolkata Literary festival on 24 January, went on to add:

But you need judges with biases. You currently have upper caste, heterosexual men on the bench- all of them who have a certain kind of bias. Now that is not the audience I am seeing in front of me, that is not the country I live in! So must not the bench reflect a part of what society itself is? That what you call biases, I would rephrase as alternative life experiences."

And, if at all a judge thinks that they are biased, they can use the establised principle of "recusal," according to Kirpal.

"If you find that you are so emotively attached to a particular case that you cannot do justice to it, the answer is – do not hear that case, stop hearing that case. And that is judicial training. You can recuse yourself."

(With inputs from LiveLaw.)

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Topics:  Collegium System   sc collegium 

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