Sexual orientation should not be the basis for deciding one’s eligibility, members of the LGBTQ community said and reiterated their recommendation to appoint senior advocate Saurabh Karpal, an openly gay person, as a judge of the Delhi High Court. Appreciated the Supreme Court Collegium for
Fifty-year-old Karpal, son of former Chief Justice of India BN Karpal, will become India’s first openly gay judge of a constitutional court if the Center accepts the collegium’s recommendation for his promotion.
The collegium, while reiterating its November 11, 2021 recommendation for Kirpal’s appointment, rejected the Centre’s contention that although homosexuality is criminalized in India, same-sex marriage is still recognised. Deprived.
Community members also said the government was refusing to give “fair” promotion to an expert lawyer.
Sharif D. Rangnekar, a writer who identifies as gay and knew Kripal personally, said that an identity, be it religious, sexual or political, is a way to determine one’s eligibility. Should not be used as a source. The former journalist also said that he was happy that the Collegium had spelled the same for all through its statement this time.
In a statement reiterating its recommendation for the appointment of Kirpal as a High Court judge, a three-judge collegium headed by Chief Justice of India DY Chandrachud commended him for being open about his sexual orientation. was, and said it “goes to him. Credit” that he hasn’t been secretive about it.
“My view is very clear that Saurabh deserves to be in this position for many years… and that his sexuality has nothing to do with his ability. I don’t think anyone’s gender identity has anything to do with their character. Why is there any connection, whether he is a judge, an MP, a legislative assembly or a CEO,” Rangnekar, author of “Straight to Normal: My Life as a Gay Man”, told PTI.
He also termed the government’s reasons against Kirpal’s appointment as “pretexts”.
The collegium, also comprising Justices SK Kaul and KM Joseph, had said that the proposal for appointment of Kirpal as a judge of the High Court has been pending for five years and needs to be acted upon expeditiously.
Referring to the Research and Analysis Wing (R&AW) letters sent to it by the government, the collegium noted that there were two objections to the recommendation made on November 11, 2021. The objections were “(i) the partner Shri Saurabh Karpal is a Swiss citizen, and (ii) he is in an intimate relationship and is open about his sexual orientation”, according to the statement. The Collegium rejected both the objections.
Delhi-based transgender Naz Joshi accused the government of being “LGBTQ-phobic”. “The entire LGBTQ community is proud of Kirpal, as for the government, they are bringing policies just for the sake of it…but they are never happy with our success,” he said.
Joshi has claimed that despite winning several beauty pageants for the country, she has been targeted for hatred.
“I am looking forward to the appointment of Kirpal as a judge of the Delhi High Court, which I hope will happen very soon,” she said.
Kirpal has been practicing in the Supreme Court for two decades and was also the counsel for Nutej Johar, Ritu Dalmia and others, which in 2018 read Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code and criminalized homosexuality.
Film director Onir, who is openly gay and vocal for LGBTQIA rights, called the arguments against Kirpal’s appointment as a judge “illogical”.
“It’s shameful how the community is being oppressed and marginalized using absolutely sick illogical arguments, be it in the case of #SaurabhKripal or the refusal to accept the LGBTQ community into the forces. Only the cisgender community. A staying power trick,” he tweeted.
Many outside the community also spoke in favor of the Supreme Court collegium’s recommendation.
RK Vij, a Twitter user on the micro-blogging site, said, “Advocate #SaurabhKripal’s appointment as Delhi High Court judge will send a good message to the world. #sexualorientation”.
Pooja Desai tweeted, “Proud of the stand that the SC Collegium has taken by publicly reinstating its second recommendation for the appointment of an able and competent lawyer – who also happens to be gay – Delhi High. In rejecting the two objections to the appointment of Saurabh Karpal, as Judge of the Court, the Government referred with reason.”
“This is #Epic. Refreshing for our #SupremeCourt to stand firm in its support of an #LGBTQA judge. More power to him #SaurabhKripal #lawyer,” said Sanjay, another Twitter user.
Kirpal was recommended for promotion in 2017 by the Delhi High Court Collegium, headed by Acting Chief Justice Geeta Mittal.
He was reportedly given the post of senior advocate in March 2021 after securing the votes of all the then 31 judges of the High Court.
Kirpal studied law at Oxford University and a Masters in Law from Cambridge University and returned to India after a brief stint at the United Nations in Geneva.
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