Saurabh Kirpal becomes Delhi High Court’s first openly homosexual judge

Saurabh Kirpal

The Supreme Court Collegium, led by Chief Justice of India NV Ramana, has approved Kirpal’s elevation. Kirpal’s name has allegedly been provided to the government several times, but the reason for the delay has been linked to his sexual orientation.

The request to appoint senior counsel Saurabh Kirpal as a judge in the Delhi High Court has been approved by the Supreme Court Collegium, which is led by Chief Justice of India NV Ramana. Kirpal’s anticipated appointment to the bench sparked debate because of his purported sexual orientation. “The Supreme Court Collegium approved the request for the elevation of Saurabh Kirpal, lawyer, as Judge in the Delhi High Court at its meeting on November 11, 2021,” the collegium said in a statement.

Justice UU Lalit and Justice AM Khanwilkar are part of a three-member collegium that provides recommendations for High Court justices. According to media sources, the Delhi High Court Collegium unanimously recommended Saurabh Kirpal for appointment as a permanent judge of the Delhi High Court in October 2017, led by acting chief justice Gita Mittal. The idea was also approved by the collegium of the Supreme Court. The Centre, on the other hand, had voiced concerns about his recommendation, citing his purported sexual orientation as a reason. During the last four years, the judicial corridors have been buzzing with speculation about his recommendation and the Centre’s apparent resistance.

Kirpal has openly spoken about his sexual orientation. An ANI report quoted Kirpal as saying in an interview this year, “The fact that my partner of 20 years 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.”In a separate statement, the Supreme Court Collegium decided to renew its prior proposal for the elevation of four advocates as judges in the Delhi High Court at its meeting on November 11, 2021, after further study. Tara Vitasta Ganju, Anish Dayal, Amit Sharma, and Mini Pushkarna are the four advocates.

“Had I been a straight man with a foreign spouse, this would not have been an issue; former Supreme Court judges have had foreign spouses. But it became an issue only because I am not,” he said of the delay in his proposal to Hindustan Times. Kirpal is now a senior attorney, having been unanimously appointed by the Delhi High Court’s 31 judges.

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