The Union government on Friday said that the Research and Analysis Wing (R&AW) inputs are taken for making appointments of judges to constitutional courts only in “extraordinary circumstances” when the issue involves national security.
The centre’s statement in Parliament came in response to a question raised by Congress MO Manish Tiwari on whether it is the practice of the government to use R&AW reports for the appointment of judges to the Supreme Court and high courts.
Union minister of law Kiren Rijiju placed the government’s response in Parliament which said, “Generally, it is not a practice to seek R&AW reports on proposals for appointment of judges in the high courts and the Supreme Court, except in extraordinary circumstances, involving issues related to national security.”
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The question was asked in the context of senior advocate Saurabh Kirpal whose name was reiterated by the Supreme Court Collegium on January 18 for elevation as a judge of the Delhi high court.
The Supreme Court Collegium comprising Chief Justice of India (CJI) Dhananjaya Y Chandrachud and justices Sanjay Kishan Kaul and KM Joseph took a bold step by baring out all details in their resolution recommending Kirpal’s name which has failed to get the concurrence of the centre since his name was first recommended in November 2021.
The Collegium made public the objections of the centre by revealing details of two R&AW reports of 2019 and 2021 against Kirpal and the government’s objection to the openly gay judge whose appointment could give room to the possibility of bias and prejudice as a judge.
These objections were, however, brushed aside by the Collegium in reiterating Collegium’s earlier recommendation of November 11, 2021.
The R&AW reports did not approve of Kirpal on two grounds– he is open about his sexual orientation as gay and his partner of Kirpal is a Swiss National employed with the Swiss embassy.
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In November 2022, the centre returned Kirpal’s name, following which the Collegium reiterated its recommendation on the ground that he possessed competence, integrity and intellect, maintained good conduct and behaviour and his addition to the bench will provide more inclusion and diversity to the Delhi high court.
If his recommendation goes through, it will be the first time a gay judge will adorn the office of a constitutional court.