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New Delhi: The Supreme Court collegium headed by Chief Justice of India N.V. Ramana has approved the proposal for the elevation of advocate Saurabh Kirpal as a judge of the Delhi high court, marking an important moment for gay rights in the country.
Kirpal, who is gay and argued the case in which homosexuality was decriminalised by the Supreme Court, was recommended for elevation in 2017 by the Delhi high court collegium, then led by acting Chief Justice Gita Mittal.
The proposal was then approved by the apex court’s collegium too.
The Centre, however, had raised objections against his recommendation over what was widely perceived to have been Kirpal’s sexual orientation.
Indian Express reported that the Supreme Court collegium’s call on Kirpal’s name came “despite repeated objections by the government which had red-flagged his elevation claiming conflict of interest as his partner is European and works with the Swiss Embassy.”
V. Venkatesan, in an analysis for The Wire, had noted that Kirpal agreed to be nominated on April 22, 2017, four days after he turned 45, and the Supreme Court collegium discussed his name three times and “found no inadequacies in his candidature and yet took no final call on his appointment”.
Kirpal himself hinted at the possible reason, when he referred to an Intelligence Bureau report – which he did not have access to – indicating some problem with his partner. “This non-elevation has probably got to do with my sexuality,” he had said then.
Besides the CJI, Justices U.U. Lalit and A.M. Khanwilkar are part of the three-member collegium which deals with the appointment and transfer of judges in high courts.
The collegium has also resolved to reiterate its earlier recommendation for the elevation of four lawyers Tara Vitasta Ganju, Anish Dayal, Amit Sharma, and Mini Pushkarna, as judges in the Delhi high court.
As per statements uploaded on the apex court website, the collegium, in its meeting held on November 11 has, on reconsideration, resolved to reiterate its earlier recommendation for the elevation of advocate Sachin Singh Rajput as a judge of the Chhattisgarh High Court.
One of the statements said the collegium has also resolved to reiterate its earlier recommendation for the elevation of Shoba Annamma Eapen, Sanjeetha Kalloor Arakkal, and Aravinda Kumar Babu Thavarakkattil, as judges of the Kerala High Court.
The Supreme Court collegium in its meeting held on November 11, 2021, has, on reconsideration, resolved to reiterate its earlier recommendation for the elevation of following three judicial officers as judges in Calcutta High Court, Ananya Bandyopadhyay, Rai Chattopadhyay, and Subhendu Samanta, one of the statements said.
As per the statements, the collegium has also approved the proposal for the elevation of judicial officer B S Bhanumathi and advocate K. Manmadha Rao as judges of the Andhra Pradesh high court.
(With PTI inputs)