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SC collegium likely to write to Centre for inputs to decide on gay lawyer’s elevation as judge

The collegium deferred its decision to elevate Saurabh Kripal on 2 March. This was the fourth time his name was deferred ever since he was recommended by Delhi HC collegium in 2017.

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New Delhi: The Supreme Court collegium led by Chief Justice of India (CJI) S.A. Bobde is likely to write to the central government, asking it to send expeditiously additional information, which the previous collegium had requisitioned in April 2019, on advocate Saurabh Kripal so that a final decision can be taken soon on his elevation as a Delhi High Court judge, ThePrint has learnt.

In a meeting on 2 March between CJI and the other two collegium members — justices N.V. Ramana and R.F. Nariman — deliberations took place over Kripal’s name, but the collegium deferred its decision until it received the inputs from the government.

This was the fourth time Kripal’s name was deferred ever since his name was unanimously recommended by the Delhi High Court collegium in October 2017.

Kripal, who is gay, had in an interview to ThePrint last September said he believes that his sexual orientation is probably the reason why the three-member Supreme Court collegium has not taken a decision on his elevation. It was the first time the advocate had spoken out on the issue.

A source in the Supreme Court told ThePrint the collegium in its 2 March meeting had taken up 18 of the 23 proposals that were pending with it for long. 

These included some names that were sent back by the Centre for a reconsideration and those that were deferred by the collegium earlier for want of more information on the candidates.

“Kripal’s name figured in the list of 18. But, in view of an earlier collegium opinion to seek more information about him, the (current) collegium felt it would be appropriate to wait for the government inputs. The CJI suggested writing a letter to the Centre, reminding it about the earlier communication the collegium had with it over Kripal’s name,” the source added.

Another source said the collegium has unanimously also agreed not to wait or long. 

“If the government fails to respond within a reasonable period,, then the collegium will move on with its decision,” said the source.


Also read: No NJAC but Modi govt still manages to have a say on judges’ appointments, transfers


Lawyer’s ‘foreign partner’ 

The Supreme Court has been unable to take a concrete decision on Kripal’s appointment, even though it had in September 2018 read down Section 377, which criminalised consensual sex between homosexual adults.

On 1 April 2019, the SC collegium had deferred — for the third time — Kripal’s recommendation by the Delhi HC collegium.

Then the SC collegium was headed by former CJI Ranjan Gogoi and comprised present CJI Bobde and Justice Ramana as its members. This collegium had then preferred to seek additional information from the government in the wake of Intelligence Bureau inputs on Kripal’s sexual orientation.

The IB had trawled through Kripal’s Facebook account and attached his picture with his “foreign” partner. None of the pictures were offensive or objectionable though and there was no direct objection to his elevation.

However, the IB report had said that the lawyer’s foreign partner could pose a security risk.

Other decisions

Meanwhile, the collegium on 2 March passed a resolution, reiterating its earlier decision to name five lawyers — which were sent back by the Centre for a reconsideration — as HC judges. While three were cleared for Kerala, one was reinforced for Karnataka and the other for Himachal Pradesh.

The collegium also approved the appointment of a judicial officer from Kerala as a HC judge.

Three fresh proposals regarding elevation of lawyers as HC judges for Madhya Pradesh were also cleared by the collegium, while one for Punjab and one for Jammu and Kashmir that were earlier deferred were finally given a go-ahead.

The collegium also accepted the government’s decision not to appoint an advocate from Punjab and Haryana as a HC judge on the basis of adverse intelligence inputs.

Appointment of an advocate from Chennai, whose recommendation was sent four years ago to the SC collegium, was not done considering he would be having a tenure of less than two years as a HC judge.


Also read: Modi govt took nearly a year to clear 24 names for HC judge appointments in 4 states


 

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6 COMMENTS

  1. If the Delhi High Court Collegium has recommend the same name 4 times, then Mr. Kirpal is much more than just a gay lawyer. And how does his personal life choices affect his professional abilities? It is an irony that a man who gets accused of sexual harassment gets elected as the Chief Justice of a country by the government, but a very capable and deserving man gets deferred thrice and is not being made judge. He must be elected.

  2. Instead of addressing him as “gay lawyer”, please address him as Mr. Kirpal. His name has been referred by the collegium for elevation because he has earned this after years of practice. Let’s not belittle it by addressing him as ‘gay lawyer’ with the intent to make it a catchy headline.

    • He should not be appointed as high court judge,
      Because now a days judiciary was degraded by somany sexual disputes.

      At this point of time appointment of this unnatural type of persons might be damaged the respect of the judiciary further more.

      He may be having excellent knowledge, skills and experience in law profession
      But
      he doesn’t have the basic discipline.

  3. Why have three names been pending with the President of India for the appointment of a judge of Madhya Pradesh High Court for a long time?

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