Explained | Modi government denied gay-advocate Saurabh Kirpal, chance of becoming judge? But WHY? Check here

The Narendra Modi government has reportedly urged the Supreme Court collegium to reconsider its recommendation to elevate senior advocate Saurabh Kirpal as a judge of the Delhi High Court.

Notably, Saurabh Kirpal, an open gay advocate, is the son of the former Chief Justice of India, B.N. Kirpal. He was recommended by former CJI NV Ramana, who heads the SC Collegium.

Reason: Sexual orientation or something else?

Reports have confirmed The Quotes that Saurabh’s long-time 50-year-old gay partner, a Swiss national, is one of the reasons why the Narendra Modi government is apprehensive of his appointment.

The Print’s report citing a highly-placed source in the Intelligence Bureau has claimed that Saurabh’s European partner could be one of the risky aspects.

However, Memorandum of Procedure (MoP), if the collegium of the highest court reiterates its decision, the government will be bound to notify the names, but the panel in Saurabh’s case is yet to hold deliberations on it.

The Quotes had learnt that this was not the first time the Center rejected Saurabh’s candidature. The Delhi High Court Collegium first cleared his name in October 2017, but the Supreme Court delayed the discussions thrice.

Reportedly, SA Bobde, then Chief Justice of India (in March 2021), wrote to law minister Ravi Shankar Prasad asking if ‘being gay’ is one of the reasons behind keeping Saurabh’s candidature pending. In November 2021, however, the SC Collegium headed by then CJI NV Ramana cleared Kirpal’s name for elevation.

Political apprehension is baffling: Saurabh.

While speaking to TheQuint, Saurabh Kirpal cited that when Indian mythology and the Vedas can recognise homosexuality and its prevalence in the culture, it’s baffling that our politicians and bureaucrats are so far behind in accepting queer community.

Those in positions of power should understand that there is nothing ‘unnatural’ or immoral about being gay if we consider the bigger picture of the sexual orientation,” he adds.

SC Collegium vs Center:

While Justice Sanjay Kishan Kaul’s bench was due to hear the matter over the delayed appointment of judges cleared by the collegium, the government returned the fresh recommendations by the Supreme Court collegium days before.

On Monday, Justice Kaul’s bench warned the Center against judicial intervention if the government did not act upon the names cleared by the collegium.

The court took a stern stance on the matter, reminding the Narendra Modi government that the current law of the land to appoint judges is the collegium system and that it was required to follow it.

Meanwhile, Union Law Minister Kiren Rijiju hit back at the collegium system. While speaking at a recent summit, Rijiju sharply reacted to the allegations that the Center had delayed appointments, but if the collegium wants, it can appoint judges and run the system.

With inputs from ThePrint, India Today and experts close to the development.

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