Every judge will have an own outlook… That lacks bias

On Tuesday, days after the Supreme Court collegium made public the government’s objection to some of the names it had recommended for appointment as High Court judges, including that of Saurabh Kirpal, the senior advocate addressed some of the reasons the government cited for sending back his name, including his sexual orientation.

When asked about the government’s concern that he may “lack objectivity” due to his “passionate” involvement in causes such as “gay rights,” Kirpal responded, “It is a fallacy to believe that a judge can be completely divorced from their upbringing, from their social milieu, from their conceptions, etc. It shapes their identities. And when they interpret any uncertain phrase in the Constitution, that word has a different meaning for a person from a wealthy upper-caste family than for a Dalit… for a woman… Obviously, your ideologies will influence your interpretation. But to suggest that someone is prejudiced because they adhere to a particular philosophy is a justification to stop appointing judges altogether, as every judge would have some sort of perspective based on their background.”

Regarding the need for more diversity on the bench, he stated, “…today we have upper caste, heterosexuals, and men on the bench, all of whom are biassed in some way. That’s not the audience in front of me, and that’s not the country I live in, so shouldn’t the bench reflect some aspect of society? I might reword ‘bias’ as ‘alternative life experiences

Later, in an exclusive interview with The Deccan Era, Kirpal reaffirmed his viewpoint, stating that despite their alleged “biases,” “judges are not wholly unrestrained by what the law says… They must adhere to the law. In the edges of ambiguity, their life experiences shape what they say, not as a deliberate act but as a result of subliminal upbringing. This is not an issue of bias…”

Kirpal, noting that judges handle a wide range of cases, stated that “even if a judge is biassed about one item… supposedly,” the judge is “very unlikely to handle a case with a bias, and if it does occur, there is a well-established idea of recusal… If you are unable to hear a case due to bias, that case should not be heard.”

Regarding the collegium system, he stated, “It’s not a flawless system, but given the political and legal conventions that led to the verdict being rendered in 1993 [Second Judges case that led to the founding of the collegium system], it’s the best we can do.” Perhaps they still exist, which is why you need to make adjustments.

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Hi, my name is Nisha and I'm an educational journalist based in India. I've always been passionate about the power of education to transform lives, and that's what led me to pursue a career in journalism focused on this area. I completed my Bachelor's degree in English from Hindu College in Delhi in 2013 and then went on to earn my Master's in Journalism and Mass Communication from the Indian Institute of Mass Communication in 2017. During my studies, I also completed several short-term courses on Education in India, Sociology, and other related subjects to deepen my knowledge in this field. I'm particularly interested in improving access to quality education in rural areas, where students often face significant challenges. I've worked on a number of initiatives to address this issue, including advocating for better policies, resources, and practices that can make a difference. As an educational journalist, I'm passionate about using my platform to highlight important issues in the education space. I've covered a wide range of topics, including the impact of technology in the classroom, innovative approaches to teaching and learning, and the challenges facing students from marginalized communities. One of the things I love most about my work is the opportunity to constantly learn and grow. I'm an avid reader and believe that reading is key to expanding one's knowledge and perspective. I'm always seeking out new ideas and insights to help me better understand the world around me. In summary, as an educational journalist, I'm dedicated to using my skills and expertise to make a positive impact in the field of education. I'm committed to improving access to quality education for all students and to using my platform to raise awareness about important issues in this area.

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