SC collegium to take call on Saurabh Kirpal’s elevation as HC judge after Centre’s objection

Soni Satti

The Government is said to have written to Chief Justice of India SA Bobde, reiterating its opposition to the appointment of senior advocate Saurabh Kirpal as a Delhi High Court judge.

The Supreme Court collegium, led by CJI Bobde, will now determine whether or not Kirpal’s name should be proposed considering the Centre’s concerns.

Kirpal will be India’s first openly gay judge if he is selected.

The government responded to the CJI’s letter by stating that it had objected to Kirpal’s promotion in 2018 because of a possible conflict of interest because his partner is European and works for the Swiss Embassy.

Kirpal’s partner had previously worked with the non-profit International Committee of Red Cross, which is based in Switzerland, according to the government.

Last month, CJI Bobde wrote to Union Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad, requesting clarification on intelligence inputs obtained by the collegium on Kirpal.

Kirpal was recommended for appointment as a judge by the Delhi High Court collegium led by Justice Gita Mittal in October 2017. The Supreme Court collegium voted to take it up for review “after some time” about a year later.

The collegium postponed its judgment when it was brought up again in January 2019 and again in April 2019. Kirpal’s recommendation was not included in the most recent batch of recommendations for Delhi High Court appointments, which were made in August 2020.

Kirpal was unanimously elected senior advocate by the Delhi High Court’s 31 judges on March 19.