Why is R&AW looking into a citizen’s sexual orientation, asks Manish Tewari
A file photo of Congress MP Manish Tewari | PTI

Congress MP attacks Centre, RAW over lawyer

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Congress MP Manish Tewari on Friday (January 20) flayed the Modi government and demanded to know why the RAW, an external intelligence agency, was probing senior advocate Saurabh Kirpal’s sexual orientation.

Tewari tweeted, “How was Research & Analysis Wing (R&AW) investigating an Indian Citizen’s sexual orientation? Even a Swiss National in India would not fall within remit of their charter. That is why from 2011 been demanding- moved 02 Private Member’s Bills to put IB, R&AW, NTRO on a statutory basis!”

“How was the Research and Analysis Wing (RAW) investigating an Indian citizen’s sexual orientation,” he asked in a tweet. “Even a Swiss national in India would not fall within (the) remit of their charter.”

Tewari said this was why since 2011 he had been seeking and even moved two Private Member Bills to put the RAW, the Intelligence Bureau and the National Technical Research Organisation (NTRO) “on a statutory basis”.

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The Centre had objected to the appointment of Saurabh Kirpal, who is openly gay, as a Delhi High Court judge.

Supreme Court backs lawyer

The Supreme Court collegium reiterated and reaffirmed Kirpal’s name to the Centre for his appointment in the Delhi High Court, rejecting the Union government’s contention.

“From the letters of the Research & Analysis Wing (R&AW) dated April 11, 2019 and March 18, 2021, it appears that there are two objections to the recommendation which was made by the Collegium of this court on November 11, 2021 approving the name of Shri Saurabh Kirpal namely: (i) the partner of Shri Saurabh Kirpal is a Swiss national, and (ii) he is in an intimate relationship and is open about his sexual orientation,” a Collegium statement had said.

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Responding to the Centre’s inference that elevating a person to the high court judge may compromise national security, the Collegium noted that “many persons in high positions, including present and past holders of Constitutional offices, have and have had spouses who are foreign nationals”.

It said “there is no reason to pre-suppose that the partner of the candidate… would be inimically (sic) disposed to our country, since the country of his origin is a friendly nation… As a matter of principle, there can be no objection to the candidature of Kirpal on the ground that his partner is a foreign national.”

Also Read: SC Collegium reiterates recommendation to appoint Saurabh Kirpal as HC judge

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