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Centre asks SC Collegium to reconsider Saurabh Kirpal’s name for elevation as Delhi HC judge

Senior Lawyer Saurabh Kripal belongs to the LGBT community and is the son of former Chief Justice of India BN Kirpal.

ANI | New Delhi |

The Centre has sent back to the Supreme Court Collegium to reconsider the proposal for the elevation of senior advocate Saurabh Kirpal as a Judge in the Delhi High Court to the Supreme Court.

Senior Lawyer Saurabh Kripal belongs to the LGBT community and is the son of former Chief Justice of India BN Kirpal. According to sources, the Centre has sent back several names to the Supreme Court Collegium recommended by it for appointment as High Court judges.

Last year, the Collegium headed by then Chief Justice of India NV Ramana had recommended the elevation of Saurabh Kirpal.

“The Supreme Court Collegium in its meeting held on 11th November 2021 has approved the proposal for elevation of Saurabh Kirpal, advocate, as Judge in the Delhi High Court,” a statement by the collegium said.

In 2017, the Delhi High Court Collegium had unanimously recommended Saurabh Kirpal, for the appointment as the permanent judge of the Delhi High Court.

Kirpal’s name has been repeatedly sent to the government, which previously had stalled the processing of the recommendation.

According to Kirpal the delay in recommending his name is due to his sexual orientation, since if approved Kirpal would become India’s first openly gay judge.

Previously in a media interview, Kirpal had said, “The fact that my partner 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 the reason I believe my sexuality is the reason why my candidature has not been considered for elevation as a judge.”

The Supreme Court on Monday also noted that consideration of the name of judges recommended by the Collegium for appointments in the High Courts has been delayed by the Centre for months.

A bench headed by Justice Sanjay Kishan Kaul observed that most of the names recommended have crossed the four-month limit and they have not received any information yet.

The court also noted that some names have been pending for the last one and half years.

The Supreme Court remarked that it appears that the government is unhappy that the NJAC did not pass Constitutional muster and said that can be the reason to not clear the names. Holding the names for a long time frustrates the system, the court said.

The Supreme Court asked the Attorney General of India and the Solicitor General to ensure that the law of the land laid down by this court is followed
The Supreme Court asked AG and SG to convey the sentiments of the bench to the Govt.

During the hearing, Senior Advocate Vikas Singh mentioned the Law Minister’s statement on Collegium.

The Court also expressed its disappointment with the statement given by the law minister to a television news channel, and said, “I have ignored all press reports, but this has come from somebody high enough also. With an interview… I am not saying anything else.”

The court said that it should not have happened.

The court said that timelines relating to the consideration of judges names have to be adhered to.

The court said, “We expect the AG and SG to ensure that the law of the land laid down by this court is followed.”

The Court earlier has too expressed unhappiness with the Centre for keeping pending the names recommended by the Collegium for the appointment of judges in the High Courts and Apex Court.

The court had remarked that keeping names on hold is not acceptable as it is becoming some sort of a device to compel these persons to withdraw their names, as has happened.