Why the Centre has asked SC Collegium to rethink over appointment of first openly gay lawyer Saurabh Kirpal as the judge

He pursued his bachelor's degree from Delhi's St Stephen's College with a major in Physics.

FPJ Web DeskUpdated: Tuesday, November 29, 2022, 04:01 PM IST
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File photo of senior advocate Saurabh Kirpal | Twitter @KirpalSaurabh |

The Centre has asked the Supreme Court Collegium to rethink over its suggestion to appoint openly gay lawyer Saurabh Kirpal to the Delhi High Court. Former Chief Justice of India NV Ramana, who heads the SC Collegium, mentioned his name.

If confirmed, he will be the country's first openly gay judge on a judicial court.

Kirpal stated on November 17 that his elevation had been delayed "at least since 2017" due to his sexual orientation. Kirpal's name was put forward as a Delhi High Court judge by the Collegium five years ago. Acting Chief Justice Gita Mittal then presided over the HC Collegium.

The Swiss national partner is the reason

One of the main reasons for the Centre's denial of his elevation "It appears to be the Swiss national partner of the 50-year-old lawyer." According to some reports, a report by the Intelligence Bureau claimed that his European partner could become a security threat.

"My 20-year partner being a foreign national poses a security risk is such a flimsy reason that one suspects it is not the whole truth." As a result, Kirpal stated in an April interview, "I think my sexuality is the key reason why my candidature for promotion as a judge has not been considered."

Kirpal was born on April 18, 1972, to former Chief Justice of India Bhupinder Nath Kirpal. Aruna Kirpal is his mother's name. He pursued his bachelor's degree from Delhi's St Stephen's College with a major in Physics. Kirpal aspired to be an astronaut as a child and was fascinated by science and astronomy.

Kirpal returned to India after studying law at at Oxford

Kirpal returned to India after studying law at Oxford (degree) and Cambridge (masters) Universities. He has been practising at the Supreme Court for over two decades. He also worked briefly at the United Nations in Geneva.

Kirpal has a background in civil, commercial, and constitutional law. He also worked with former Attorney General and senior Supreme Court lawyer Mukul Rohatgi, which helped him sharpen his skills.

Kirpal was a member of the legal team

Kirpal was a member of the legal team that represented Sunil Mehra and Navtej Singh Johar, who were among the petitioners in the famous case that resulted in the decriminalisation of gay sex.

Kirpal is also the editor and author of 'Sex and the Supreme Court: How the Law Protects the Dignity of the Indian Citizen.' It includes writings by notable legal luminaries such as Justice MB Lokur, Justice BD Ahmed, and Justice AK Sikri.

He serves on the board of the Naz Foundation Trust, a non-governmental organisation based in Delhi. The NGO led India's fight to repeal Section 377, which criminalised homosexuality.

Kirpal was designated senior advocate by all 31 judges of the Delhi High Court in March of last year, a rare unanimous endorsement.

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