India May Soon Get an Openly Gay Judge, But SC Collegium Deferring Decision

While the Supreme Court may have delivered the judgement decriminalising homosexuality once and for all, the Court seems to be finding it difficult to be progressive when it comes to actually setting an example. According to a report in the Economic Times, the Supreme Court collegium consisting of Chief Justice of India and four other senior most judges has been deferring the elevation of a well-know gay lawyer as a judge of Delhi High Court for the past 10 months.

The lawyer, who has been living with his partner who is a foreign national, was unanimously approved and recommended by the Delhi High Court collegium on October 13, 2017 for elevation. An Intelligence Bureau flagged the lawyer’s partner being a foreign national as a potential ‘security risk’. However, the same report also vouches for the personal integrity of the same person. The ET report mentions that the IB report is not binding on the SC Collegium.

The Collegium, which has deferred the elevation thrice in 10 months, has now asked for additional information on the security threat mentioned in the IB report from the Govt. However, the ET report mentions that Govt considers the IB report as comprehensive and may have no further information.

“It is getting increasingly difficult for the collegium to justify the delay and thereby holding back the recommendation. An opportunity has been presented to the collegium to take a progressive decision in favour of a meritorious and worthy candidate without being influenced by extraneous considerations,” ex-SC judge Justice Madan Lokur told ET.

In the past, former SC judge Justice Vivian Bose was married to a foreign national. When the SC itself gave out a judgement reading down Section 377 and said, “History owes an apology to the members of this community and their families, for the delay in providing redressal for the ignominy and ostracism that they have suffered through the centuries,” then why are the Lordships hesitating in another historic decision?

Sukhdeep Singh