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Centre Rejects Names Recommended by Collegium for Elevation as HC Judges

3 min read
Gavel Law Insider

Sakina Tashrifwala

Published on: 29 November 2022 at 23:27 IST

According to sources, the names of senior counsel nominated by the Supreme Court Collegium for appointment as High Court judges have been rejected by the Centre.

The Centre requested that the Supreme Court review the plan to appoint prominent advocate Saurabh Kirpal to the Delhi High Court as a judge while returning the files to it.

Senior Counsel Saurabh Kripal is the son of former Chief Justice of India BN Kirpal and a member of the LGBT community.

The Collegium, presided over by the former Chief Justice of India, NV Ramana, had recommended Saurabh Kirpal’s promotion last year.

The request to elevate lawyer Saurabh Kirpal to the position of judge in the Delhi High Court was approved by the Supreme Court Collegium at its meeting on November 11, 2021, according to a statement from the collegium.

Saurabh Kirpal was unanimously recommended by the Delhi High Court Collegium in 2017 for appointment as a permanent judge of the Delhi High Court.

The government has received Kirpal’s name numerous times after previously delaying the processing of the recommendation. As the first openly homosexual judge in India, Kirpal claims the reason for the delay in recommending his name is because of his sexual orientation.

In a previous interview with the media, Kirpal had stated, “My spouse being a person of foreign origin is a security concern is such a ridiculous explanation that it leaves one to suspect that it is not the complete truth. Because of this, I think my sexuality is to blame for why my application for judicial elevation was rejected.”

On Monday, the Supreme Court also remarked that the Centre has been months behind in considering the names of judges proposed by the Collegium for appointments to the High Courts.

A bench led by Justice Sanjay Kishan Kaul noted that the majority of the names recommended had gone past the four-month mark and they had still not heard anything. Additionally, the court mentioned that certain cases have been outstanding for the previous 1.5 years.

The government’s unhappiness that the NJAC did not pass constitutional muster, according to the Supreme Court, may be the reason the names weren’t cleared.

The court claimed that keeping the names for a lengthy time hampers the system. The Attorney General of India and the Solicitor General were tasked by the Supreme Court with ensuring that the country’s laws, as established by this court, are upheld.

The Supreme Court instructed the AG and SG to inform the government of the opinions of the bench. Senior Counsel Vikas Singh brought up the Law Minister’s comments regarding Collegium during the hearing.

The Court also voiced its dissatisfaction with the law minister’s interview with a television news programme, in which he claimed, “I have ignored all press reports, but this has also come from someone high enough. I won’t say much more regarding an interview.

According to the court, it shouldn’t have happened. The court ruled that deadlines for taking judges’ names into consideration must be followed.

The court stated, “We expect the AG and SG to see to it that the law of the land established by this court is followed.

The Centre’s decision to postpone acting on the names proposed by the Collegium for the appointment of judges to the High Courts and Apex Court has already drawn file from the Court.

The court had stated that keeping names on hold is unacceptable because it is turning into some type of tool to force these people to remove their names, which is what has already happened.