Who Is Advocate Saurabh Kirpal And Why Is His Nomination As A Delhi HC Judge Controversial?
Who Is Advocate Saurabh Kirpal And Why Is His Nomination As A Delhi HC Judge Controversial?

Who Is Advocate Saurabh Kirpal And Why Is His Nomination As A Delhi HC Judge Controversial?

The Supreme Court collegium headed by CJI DY Chandrachud has reiterated the name of senior advocate Saurabh Kirpal as a judge of the Delhi High Court, even after the objections raised by the Research and Analysis Wing (RAW) and the Union Law Ministry.

The SC collegium, which also comprises Justices SK Kaul and KM Joseph, said the proposal for the appointment of Kirpal as a high court judge has been pending for over five years and needs to be processed expeditiously.

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“In this backdrop, the Collegium resolves to reiterate its recommendation dated 11 November, 2021 for appointment of Shri Saurabh Kirpal as a Judge of the Delhi High Court which needs to be processed expeditiously,” said a statement uploaded on the apex court website. 

“The recommendation unanimously made by the Collegium of the Delhi High Court on October 13, 2017 and approved by the Supreme Court Collegium on November 11, 2021 has been referred back to us on November 25, 2022 for reconsideration in light of the observations made in the file,” it noted.

Who is Advocate Kirpal?

Ever since the name of Advocate Kirpal was first nominated to the Delhi High Court by the Collegium, it has been mired in controversy.


That is because, if appointed, Kirpal will become the first openly gay judge in the Delhi High Court.

Advocate Kirpal is the son of former Chief Justice of India, BN Kirpal.

The 51-year-old who holds a law degree from Oxford University and a master’s degree from Cambridge University, is also an author and LGBTQ rights activist.

What is the opposition against Advocate Kirpal

The Law Ministry had objected to his appointment as a judge in the Delhi HC, citing his sexual orientation.

The ministry noted Kirpal’s “ardent involvement and passionate attachment to the cause of gay rights” and said since same-sex marriage is not legalised in India, such characteristics of his could involve possible bias and prejudice.

The RAW had raised two objections – Kripal’s partner is a Swiss national, and (ii) he is in an intimate relationship and is open about his sexual orientation.


Collegium stands by its recommendation

The SC Collegium, however, said that the two communications of RAW do not reflect any apprehension regarding the individual conduct or behaviour of the partner of Kirpal having a bearing on national security.

It said there is no reason to “pre-suppose” that the candidate’s partner, a Swiss national, would be inimically disposed to India since the country of his origin is a friendly nation.


Regarding the second objection, the Collegium has said it needs to be noted that the decisions of the Constitution bench of the apex court have established the constitutional position that every individual is entitled to maintain their dignity and individuality based on sexual orientation.

“The fact that Saurabh Kirpal has been open about his orientation is a matter which goes to his credit. As a prospective candidate for judgeship, he has not been surreptitious about his orientation,” it said.

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