LGBTQ Community On Judge Collegium: Members of the LGBTQ community have lauded the Supreme Court Collegium for recommending the appointment of senior advocate Saurabh Kripal as a judge. Members said on Saturday (January 21) that sexual grounds should not be a means of judging someone’s capability. Senior advocate Saurabh Kirpal can become the first gay judge of a constitutional court in the country if the Center accepts the re-sent recommendation of the collegium regarding the appointment of senior advocate Saurabh Kirpal as a judge in the Delhi High Court.
Former Chief Justice of India B. N. Kripal’s son and senior advocate Saurabh Kripal (50) is very open about his gay status and was part of the legal team that headed some of the petitioners from the LGBTQ (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer) group. Was represented in court. The top court had decriminalized consensual sex between two same-sex adults.
The collegium rejected the Centre’s argument
Reiterating the recommendation of Kirpal’s appointment on November 11, 2021, the collegium rejected the Centre’s contention that although homosexuality has been decriminalized in India, same-sex marriage is still denied recognition. The community members also said that the government was denying a “justified” promotion to a learned lawyer.
LGBTQ community lauds collegium
Sharif D Rangnekar, a writer who identifies himself as gay and knew Saurabh Kripal personally, said that any identity, be it religious, sexual or political, can be used as a means of determining one’s potential. Should not be used as such. The former journalist also said that he is happy that the collegium has said the same thing for all in its statement this time.
What did the collegium say in its statement?
In a statement reiterating its recommendation for the appointment of Saurabh Kripal as a high court judge, the three-member collegium headed by Chief Justice of India DY Chandrachud commended him for being open about his sexual orientation. It was said that the credit goes to him for keeping an open mind about this. The collegium, also comprising justices SK Kaul and KM Joseph, had said that the proposal for appointment of Kirpal as a high court judge was pending for more than five years and needed to be processed expeditiously.
RAW letters were mentioned
Referring to the letters of the Research and Analysis Wing (R&AW) that were sent on behalf of the government, the collegium noted that, “Research and Analysis Wing (RAW) letters dated April 11, 2019 and March 18, 2021 It appears from the above that there are two objections to the recommendation made by the Collegium of this Court on November 11, 2021 in the name of Saurabh Kripal: firstly that Saurabh Kripal’s partner is a citizen of Switzerland and secondly that he is in close relationship with and openly admit their sexual orientation.”
Regarding the objections, the collegium said that in the letters of RAW, attention has not been drawn to any such apprehension regarding the personal conduct or behavior of Kripal’s partner, which has an impact on national security. Regarding the second objection, the collegium said that it needs to be noted that the judgments of the Constitution Bench of the Supreme Court have made it clear that every person is entitled to maintain his/her dignity and individuality on the basis of sexual orientation.
Recommendation was made in 2017
Saurabh Kirpal studied law at the University of Oxford and did his Master of Laws (LLM) at the University of Cambridge before returning to India after a brief stint at the United Nations in Geneva. A recommendation was made in 2017 by the Delhi High Court collegium to elevate him.
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