India is on the brink of getting its first openly gay judge

India is close to the appointment of its first openly gay judge.

Saurabh Kirpal (Photo and rainbow frame courtesy of Indian Link)

Barring unexpected snags, the appointment of prominent attorney Saurabh Kirpal would occur a little more than three years after the Indian Supreme Court overturned the country’s colonial-era anti-gay law.

On Nov. 11, the Supreme Court Collegium, a judicial body that recommends candidates for top court positions, endorsed Kirpal for the Delhi High Court.

That recommendation comes nearly three years after it was first considered. A decision on Kirpal’s candidacy had been deferred at least four times since 2018 — a delay that was widely perceived in legal circles to be due to his sexual orientation, according to the Indian Express.

Kirpal was counsel for two petitioners in the 2018 case that decriminalized homosexuality in India.

Some Indian officials have opposed Kirpal’s candidacy, claiming that he has a conflict of interest because Kirpal’s long-time partner is European and Kirpal works with the Swiss embassy.

“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 why I believe my sexuality is the reason why my candidature has not been considered for elevation as a judge,” Kirpal said in an interview in April.

This news item is based on the Indian Express article, “Milestone for gay rights: SC Collegium picks Saurabh Kirpal for Delhi High Court”.

Written by Colin Stewart

Colin Stewart is a 45-year journalism veteran living in Southern California. He is the president of the St. Paul’s Foundation for International Reconciliation, which supports LGBTQ+ rights advocacy journalism, Erasing 76 Crimes. Contact him at [email protected]

One Comment

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  1. The appointment of a judge must be without reference to his/her social, economic or sexual orientation, a what’s the difference between a straigh judge and a gay judge?
    Only the knowledge of the law must be reason to appoint a judge, not what he/she does behind the doors of his.her bedroom!
    No judge should be appointed based on any other basis then knowledge of the law AND being independent in his/her rulings, otherwise a judge is corrupt and biased!
    Any society that regards the appointment of a judge who’s sexual oritentation is different should take a look in the mirror, asking what is so special about the judges sexual orientation!
    Gay judges, and for that matter being gay is not more special then being straight, we’re all human beings, and only our knowledge and abillities are what is important!
    When there are differences created in laws and behaviours of people, then those must be changed, not the equality of people!
    In my opinion a country that has created differences between people based on what they do behind the doors of their bedrooms is a country that deserves to be forced to take a look at itself, if that country can call itself a country of People!
    Being gay is nothing special, being straight is nothing special, being bi-sexual is not special, being trans is not special!
    My opinion!

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