Centre rejects Saurabh Kirpal’s name for elevation as Delhi HC judge

The Centre has rejected lawyer Saurabh Kirpal’s name for elevation as a High Court judge. On November 17, Kirpal told the media that his promotion has been delayed “at least since 2017” due to his sexual orientation. Kirpal had earlier come out as gay. According to a report by India Ahead, Kirpal’s name has been sent back to the Collegium for “reconsideration”.

However, under the provisions of the Memorandum of Procedure, if the name is sent to the Centre by the Collegium again, the government will have to clear it.

Kirpal is the son of former chief justice of India (CJI) BN Kirpal. According to India Ahead, one of the reasons for the rejection “seems to be the 50-year-old lawyer’s partner, who is a foreigner.” It added that according to the Intelligence Bureau, his partner can become a “security risk”.

Kirpal’s name was first cleared by Collegium in October 2017, but the discussions have been delayed thrice by the . In March 2021, the CJI SA Bobde wrote to law minister Ravi Shankar Prasad asking if the matter is pending because Kirpal was a gay man. In November 2021, however, the SC Collegium headed by then CJI NV Ramana cleared Kirpal’s name for elevation.

“I think the government is still against a certain view or has a certain view on [Section] 377 (which criminalised homosexuality) and homosexuality. They never opposed the decriminalisation of 377 [but] they never filed an affidavit saying that it should be decriminalised,” Kirpal had told NDTV earlier this month.

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