Advocate Saurabh Kirpal could be India’s first gay HC judge

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The Supreme Court collegium, headed by Chief Justice N.V. Ramana, has recommended the appointment of senior advocate Saurabh Kirpal as a judge of the Delhi High Court.

The announcement comes four years after the Delhi High Court recommended the name of advocate Saurabh Kirpal for appointment as a judge.

A statement on the top court’s website said: “The Supreme Court Collegium in its meeting held on 11th November, 2021 has approved the proposal for elevation of Saurabh Kirpal, Advocate, as Judge in the Delhi High Court”.

The Supreme Court collegium had thrice deferred Kirpal’s elevation in the past. He was recently conferred senior advocate gown. In an interview last year, Kirpal, who is a member of the LGBTQ+ community, had claimed that he believes his sexual orientation is probably the reason the collegium had not taken a decision on his elevation.

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Lawyer Saurabh Kirpal’s name was discussed among 18 other proposals that were pending with the collegium for a long time. Some of them, including Kirpal’s, were pending because of more information that was sought by the collegium from the government.

While the Supreme Court collegium had cleared the other names, it held back Kirpal until it received inputs from the government. This was the fourth time his name was deferred ever since he was recommended unanimously by the Delhi HC collegium, The Print reported.

While the government did not officially not speak against Kirpal’s sexual orientation, it had expressed reservation over his partner being a non-Indian.

According to the Indian news site, this was highlighted in an Intelligence Bureau (IB) report, which the government forwarded to the SC collegium after receiving the recommendation on Kirpal from the Delhi High Court in October 2017.

The IB had browsed through Kirpal’s Facebook account and attached his picture with his “foreign” partner. None of the pictures were offensive or objectionable, though, and there was no direct objection to his elevation. However, the IB report had said that the lawyer’s foreign partner could pose a security risk, The Print reported.

In another statement, the top court said: “The Supreme Court Collegium in its meeting held on 11th November 2021 has, on reconsideration, resolved to reiterate its earlier recommendation for the elevation of following four advocates as Judges in Delhi High Court: Tara Vitasta Ganju, Anish Dayal, Amit Sharma, and Mini Pushkarna.

The top court collegium also approved an advocate, K. Manmadha Rao, and a judicial officer, B.S. Banumathi, as judges in the Andhra Pradesh High Court.

From IANS and other reports

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