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Union Minister of Law and Justice Kiren Rijiju on Tuesday reacted to the Supreme Court’s decision to publicise the RAW and Intelligence Bureau (IB) reports on the appointment of judges in the high courts. Kiren Rijiju said that putting such details in the public domain is a “matter of serious concern". “Putting secret reports in the public domain is a matter of grave concern," he said.

Reacting to the recent comments made by Supreme Court regarding a delay in the appointments on the Collegium recommendations, Kiren Rijiju said these are administrative orders.

“No one should make a comment on a judicial order. But, these are administrative orders and not judicial. I have seen some tweets that are making comments about NJAC is contempt. The order of the bench is totally different and this is all administrative," Kiren Rijiju said.

A few days ago, the Supreme Court Collegium resolved to reiterate its recommendation dated November 11, 2021, for the appointment of Saurabh Kirpal as a Judge of the Delhi High Court and stressed that it needs to be processed expeditiously.

Collegium later mentioned the letter of the Law Minister that states that though "homosexuality stands de-criminalised in India, nonetheless same-sex marriage still remains bereft of recognition either in codified statutory law or uncodified personal law in India and the candidate's "ardent involvement and passionate attachment to the cause of gay rights" would not rule out the possibility of bias and prejudice.

"As regards the first objection, the two communications of R&AW do not reflect any apprehension in regard to the individual conduct or behaviour of the partner of Saurabh Kirpal having a bearing on national security. There is no reason to pre-suppose that the partner of the candidate, who is a Swiss National, would be inimically disposed to our country since the country of his origin is a friendly nation," SC Collegium clarified.

"Many persons in high positions including present and past holders of constitutional offices have and had spouses who are foreign Nationals. Hence, as a matter of principle, there can be no objection to the candidature of Saurabh Kirpal on the ground that his partner is a Foreign National. As regards the second objection, it needs to be noted that the decisions of the Constitution Bench of this Court have established the constitutional position that every individual is entitled to maintain their own dignity and individuality, based on sexual orientation," SC Collegium said.

"The fact that Saurabh Kirpal has been open about his orientation is a matter which goes to his credit. As a prospective candidate for the judgeship, he has not been surreptitious about his orientation," SC Collegium said.

The recommendation, approved by the Supreme Court Collegium, was referred back to it for a reconsideration. The proposal has reportedly been pending for over five years. Taking note of the letter of the RAW dated 11 April 2019, and 18 March 2021. It said it appeared there were two objections to the recommendation namely, “the partner of Saurabh Kirpal is a Swiss National, and he is in an intimate relationship and is open about his sexual orientation".

Addressing a press conference on the awards for eCourts Projects, Kiren Rijiju also noted that the appointment of judges is an administrative matter, and not a judicial matter. He expressed happiness regarding the “good" work done by the justice department.

Speaking about the pendency of the cases, Kiren Rijiju said pendency of cases means delay in justice which is justice denied. He said, “The total pendency is 4 crore 90 lakh cases in the country. Pendency in cases implies to delay in Justice. Justice delayed is justice denied."

"Delivery of Justice is a crucial aspect. The only way to reduce pendency is a coordinated effort of the government and the judiciary. The pendency of a huge number of cases is a matter of concern. The pendency of cases is a major concern, technology is a major solution. We are also considering Alternate Dispute Resolution and mediation," Kiren Rijiju said.

(With agency inputs

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