The Supreme Court Collegium has reiterated its recommendation for appointing Senior Advocate Saurabh Kirpal as a Delhi High Court Judge and disagreed with the Centre over the fact that his openness about his sexual orientation will lead to “bias and prejudice.”
Kirpal openly identifies as a gay man – and lives with his partner in New Delhi.
Centre Had Objections: The Centre had earlier sent back Kirpal’s name for reconsideration and had expressed apprehension over his openness about his sexual orientation, the collegium resolution dated 18 January said.
The centre had further said that considering his " passionate attachment to the cause of gay-rights," it was difficult for them to rule out the possibility of Kirpal's bias and prejudice.
But the Collegium said…However, the Collegium, which includes CJI DY Chandrachud, Justices SK Kaul and KM Joseph, said:
"The fact that Mr. Saurabh Kirpal has been open about his orientation is a matter which goes to his credit. In view of the constitutionally recognized rights which the candidate espouses, it would be manifestly contrary to the constitutional principles laid down by the Supreme Court to reject his candidature on that ground."
Proposal Pending For 5 + Years:The proposal to appoint Kirpal has been pending for over five years. The recommendation was unanimously made by the Collegium of the Delhi High Court on 13 October 2017 and approved by the Supreme Court Collegium on 11 November 2021.
What else? The centre had also brought up considerations of national security while stating that Kirpal’s partner was a Swiss national.
The Collegium, however, said that there was no reason to presume that his partner would be hostile towards India, since his country is a “friendly nation.”
“Many persons in high positions including present and past holders of constitutional offices have and have had spouses who are foreign Nationals. Hence, as a matter of principle, there can be no objection to the candidature of Shri Saurabh Kirpal on the ground that his partner is a foreign National,” it added.
(With inputs from LiveLaw)