Sexual orientation of candidate for judgeship has nothing to do with ability: CJI Chandrachud

New Delhi: Amid a controversy over the Supreme Court recommending for a second time the elevation of gay senior advocate Saurabh Kirpal as a judge of the Delhi High Court, Chief Justice of India D Y Chandrachud said on Saturday the sexual orientation of a candidate for judgeship has nothing to do with his professional ability.

Speaking at the India Today Conclave, 2023, the CJI said when the Collegium considers the candidates for appointment as judges in high courts or the Supreme Court, it is conscious of the fact that it cannot open every aspect of their life to the society.

“The candidate (Kirpal) you are referring to, every aspect of which was mentioned in the report of the Intelligence Bureau, was in the public domain. The candidate in question is open about his sexual orientation. So, when the IB flagged something, we were not really opening up IB sources of information. What could be the danger? Someone might say if you put the IB report in public domain, you might be compromising the sources of information of the IB on the issues of national security, somebody’s life may be in danger.

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“This was not a case like that. The IB report dwelt on the sexual orientation of an openly declared gay candidate for prospective judgeship. It’s known to the entire profession and widely reported in the media. All that we said in the resolution was that the sexual orientation of a candidate has nothing to do with the ability or the constitutional entitlement of the candidate to assume a high Constitution post of a high court judge,” he said.

In January, the Supreme Court Collegium had reiterated its November 11, 2021 recommendation for appointing Kirpal as a judge of the Delhi High Court, rejecting the Centre’s contention that though homosexuality stands decriminalised in India, same-sex marriage is still bereft of recognition.

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