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SC collegium recommends homosexual son of former Justice for elevation as judge to Delhi HC, has foreign national as partner

After the government rejected Kirpal's elevation as the High Court judge, citing a conflict of interest because of the nationality of his partner, Kirpal had touted his sexuality as the reason for the decision.

A three-member Supreme Court collegium comprising of CJI NV Ramana, Justices UU Lalit and AM Khanwilkar has recommended the elevation of Saurabh Kirpal as the judge of the Delhi High Court. The SC collegium took the decision on Kirpal’s elevation on November 11, Thursday and sent the recommendation to the law ministry. If appointed, Saurabh Kirpal will be India’s first self-professed gay HC judge.

Prior to this, his name had been recommended for the position in the year 2017, but was deferred at least four times.

The government had protested to his elevation on multiple occasions, citing a conflict of interest because his partner is European and works for the Swiss Embassy.

The government also stated that Kirpal’s partner had previously worked with the Committee of Red Cross, which is headquartered in Switzerland.

After the government rejected Kirpal’s elevation as the High Court judge, citing a conflict of interest because of the nationality of his partner, Kirpal had touted his sexuality as the reason for the decision. In an interview in April, Kirpal said, “the fact that my partner of 20 years is a person of foreign origin is a security risk is such a specious reason that it leaves one to believe that it is not the whole truth. That is why I believe my sexuality is the reason why my candidature has not been considered for elevation as a judge.”

Saurabh Kirpal is the son of Justice BN Kirpal, who was the 31st Chief Justice of India from May 2002 to November 2002. He obtained a B.Sc (Hons) in Physics from St Stephens, Delhi University, before going on to Oxford to study law. Prior to becoming a senior advocate, Saurabh Kirpal worked as a junior lawyer in the chambers of senior advocate Mukul Rohatgi. He is the author of the book ‘Sex and the Supreme Court,’ which talks about law, gender, and sexuality. He has also worked with the United Nations in Geneva briefly.

 

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