India’s supreme court upholds the appointment of a gay lawyer over government objections

By Arpan Chaturvedi and Tanvi Mehta

NEW DELHI, Jan 19 (Reuters)The Supreme Court of India has reiterated its support for lawyer Saurabh Kirpal to be appointed as a judge in the Delhi High Court even after the central government opposed his request.

Kirpal’s name was first cleared in 2017, and it was approved by the Supreme Court in 2021. But the request was submitted by the government last November.

The government said Kirpal’s “passionate participation and commitment to the cause of gay rights” could influence his decisions and also oppose his candidacy because his partner is a Swiss citizen. .

The Supreme Court collegium, comprising the chief justice of India and two other senior judges, overruled all objections from the government and reiterated its recommendation for the appointment of Kirpal.

“There is no reason to think that the partner of the candidate, who is a Swiss National, will not like our country, because his country is a friendly country,” said the college in a statement, too. kudos to Kirpal for his outstanding contribution.

“As a candidate for judge, his agenda has not been secret.”

Kirpal declined to reveal the Supreme Court’s support for his appointment.

Judges for the Supreme Court and 25 high courts in all of India are appointed through a quarter-century-old system that includes both judges and government officials.

A group of senior judges, known as the college, submits the names of candidates to the law department, and these names are approved when they clear security checks.

The college requested the government to immediately deal with the reiterated recommendation. If elected, Kirpal will be India’s first acting judge.

In 2018, India’s colonial policy on homosexuality was repealed, but members of the feminist, gay, bisexual and transgender community continue to complain. (LGBT) in India due to lack of acceptance and discrimination in Indian society.

The support of the high court comes when senior government officials receive it said they want to have a greater role in the selection of judges, a demand that some lawyers and judges say threatens the independence of the court.

The government recently stopped passing candidates, without any reason.

(Editing by Sudipto Ganguly and Bernadette Baum)


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