Being gay or critical of PM Modi doesn't cancel judge-candidature: SCtext_fields
New Delhi: On Thursday, the Supreme Collegium reiterated the names of five advocates to be appointed as High Court judges before the Centre. Of the five, it has publicized the reasons behind its reiteration and the Centre's objection to the names of three, The Indian Express reported.
The SC reiterated five names are senior advocate Saurabh Kirpal, recommended for an appointment at the Delhi Court, advocate Somasekhar Sundaresan for Bombay High Court, advocate R John Sathyan for Madras High Court, and advocates Sakya Sen and Amitesh Banerjee for the Calcutta High Court.
The Union government sought reconsideration over the mentioned names in November last.
In a statement by the SC collegium, it details the most the case of Kirpal, who would become India's first gay openly-gay judge if appointed. Collegium cited a communication from Research and Analysis Wing and then Union Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad and said that the government objected to Kirpal's appointment for two reasons. First, his partner is a Swiss National, and second, he is in an intimate relationship and open about his sexual orientation.
The law minister's letter, dated April 1, 2021, stated that though homosexuality is no criminal offence in India, same-sex marriage has not been recognized either in codified statutory law or uncodified personal law. The letter claimed that the candidate's involvement in the cause for gay rights suggests that he could be prejudiced and biased, the collegium statement states.
According to the collegium, the said reasons do not cancel his candidature. Having a Swiss national as a partner does not affect candidature since the country is a friendly nation. Many individuals who hold high positions in Constitutional offices have foreign nationals as spouses, it said.
Further, it said that rejecting Kirpal's candidature on the grounds of his sexual orientation is against the constitutional principles laid by the Supreme Court.
On returning advocate Somasekhar Sundaresan's candidature, the collegium said that the reason stated was that he published his views on certain matters that were still under the consideration of the courts. The collegium argued that expressing views by a candidate on certain matters does not cancel his candidature, and the same does not prove that he is a highly biased and opinionated person.
On advocate Sathyan's candidature, his file was returned by the Centre, citing that he was critical of Narendra Modi. He shared an article published by 'The Quint', which was critical of the Prime Minister.