Saurabh Kirpal Age, Wife, Family, Biography & More

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Boyfriend: Nicolas Germain Bachmann
Hometown: Delhi
Age: 50 Years

Saurabh Kirpal

ProfessionSenior advocate at Delhi High Court
Famous ForBeing recommended as the first openly gay judge
Physical Stats & More
Eye ColourDark Brown
Hair ColourBlack
HighlightsNovember 2021: Recommended as a judge at the Delhi High Court
March 2021: Appointed as a senior advocate at the Delhi High Court
Late 1990s-present: Lawyer at the Supreme Court of India
Early 1990s: Brief stint with the United Nations in Geneva
Personal Life
Date of Birth18 April 1972 (Tuesday)
Age (as of 2022) 50 Years
Zodiac signAries
College/University• University of Cambridge, England
• University of Oxford, England
• St. Stephens College, Delhi
Educational Qualification(s) [1]Hindustan Times• Masters in Law from University of Cambridge
• Undergraduation in Law from University of Oxford
• B.Sc. (Honors) in Physics from St. Stephens College
HobbiesReading non-fiction books on the social sciences and philosophy, Listening to Indian classical music
ControversyAppointments deferred three times: After Saurabh was first recommended for appointment as a judge by the Delhi High Court Collegium on 13 October 2017, his name was deferred by the Supreme Court Collegium three times - on 4 September 2018, on 16 January 2019 when Justice Ranjan Gogoi was the CJI, and on 1 April 2019 under the leadership of the then CJI S. A. Bobde. The decisions attracted a lot of controversy, and it was alleged that Saurabh's appointment was sent into a limbo only because he was gay. [2]The Free Press Journal On 19 January 2023, the Supreme Court Collegium reiterated the recommendation for his appointment as Delhi High Court judge. The collegium said that it would not be appropriate for the government to assume that Mr. Kirpal’s Swiss partner was anti-India. The court observed that Mr. Kirpal would be an asset to the Bench. [3]The Hindu
Relationships & More
Marital StatusUnmarried
Sexual OrientationGay [4]India Ahead
Affair/BoyfriendNicolas Germain Bachmann (2001-present) (Works at the Swiss Federal Department of Foreign Affairs in New Delhi, Swiss human rights activist. [5]DNA India
Saurabh Kirpal with his partner Nicholas
ParentsFather- Bhupinder Nath Kirpal (31st Chief Justice of India, from May 2002 to November 2002)
Saurabh Kirpal's father
Mother- Aruna Kirpal
SiblingsHe has two siblings.
BookCosmos by Carl Sagan
Saurabh Kirpal

Some Lesser Known Facts About Saurabh Kirpal

  • Saurabh Kirpal is an Indian senior advocate, LGBTQ+ activist, and author of a book. In November 2021, he made headlines for being the first openly-gay senior advocate to be recommended for the designation of a judge at the Delhi High Court.
  • Saurabh, a self-professed gay lawyer, talked about discovering his sexuality and his coming out story in an interview. He said, [6]India Ahead

    I discovered my sexuality at a very early age… It took me some time to come to terms with my own sexuality. It was a lonely experience… I could not foresee that I could ever live happily with a woman, having a fake marriage, bringing great unhappiness to her, and at least as much unhappiness to myself. It was one of the toughest things for me to come out. I was despairing… I did not come out to my parents until I was in my mid to late twenties. But coming out to my parents was one of the happiest moments of my life. It was a joyful glorious experience… My father said he was surprised to hear it, but he was happy for me and would support me no matter what. My mother said she sort of suspected it but wasn’t really sure. She too would support whatever decisions that I would take.”

  • Now a senior advocate, Saurabh once yearned to become an astronaut while growing up, as he loved studying science and astronomy. According to Kirpal, his love for the subjects inspired him to pursue physics majors. [7]BW Legal World He also revealed in an interview that initially, he was sceptical of studying law at Oxford University due to lack of finances, however, he secured a scholarship and got enrolled. Kirpal said, [8]BW Legal World

    I had planned to read law at Delhi University, but I felt that I needed to expand my horizons and experience life outside India, even if I was never going to permanently settle there. I applied to Oxford to read law and while I obtained admission there, I was not very sure whether I could go. I was dependent on being able to secure a scholarship, which I was fortunate enough to get.”

  • Saurabh also enjoys drinking alcoholic beverages.

    Saurabh Kirpal holding a glass of alcoholic drink

    Saurabh Kirpal holding a glass of alcoholic drink

  • As soon as Saurabh completed his degree in law from the University of Cambridge, he joined the United Nations in Geneva for a brief period and then returned to India in the 1990s to practise in the Supreme Court of India. While at the Supreme Court, the advocate fought many cases in areas of civil, commercial, and constitutional law. In a stint of over two decades, Kirpal had also worked under the former Attorney General and senior Supreme Court lawyer Mukul Rohatgi. [9]BBC
  • Kirpal’s high-profile clients include Anil Ambani in a case against his brother, Indian celebrity chef Ritu Dalmia, and others.
  • Saurabh, a lawyer and LGBTQ+ activist, was also among the team of lawyers who helped to bring down Section 377 in September 2018. He was the one who argued the case of Navtej Singh Johor vs Union of India in the court. [10]The Free Press Journal When he was interviewed soon after the verdict was passed, Saurabh said, [11]The Times of India

    The judgement didn’t seem much as Section 377 only made the act of consensual homosexual sex illegal… Section 377 was only related to consensual gay sex, but since it was a crime it had an impact on other things as well. Legal changes, like the judgement on Section 377, will gradually help bring in social changes. I think history has shown us that around the world positive changes for the LGBTQIA+ community started with the amendment of laws.”

    Saurabh Kirpal with lawyers who helped to scrap Section 377

    Saurabh Kirpal with lawyers who helped to scrap Section 377

  • According to media reports, in October 2017, Saurabh’s name was unanimously recommended for the designation of the permanent judge of Delhi High Court by the Delhi High Court Collegium comprising of Chief Justice Gita Mittal and justices Sanjeev Khanna and Ravindra Bhat. The decision was later deferred. [12]The Free Press Journal
  • Kirpal’s name for appointment as the judge was deferred three times since it was recommended in 2017. After the third time it happened, the senior advocate took to media to express his disbelief and to accept the fact that his sexual orientation might have hindered his elevation. Saurabh said in an interview, [13]Hindustan Times

    Media reports seemed to indicate the issue might have been the nationality of my partner who is Swiss. Had I been a straight man with a foreign spouse, this would not have been an issue; former Supreme Court judges have had foreign spouses. But it became an issue only because I am not.”

  • After almost four years, in March 2021, Kirpal was elevated to the position of a senior advocate at the Delhi High Court after all the 31 judges of the Delhi High Court unanimously endorsed his appointment. [14]Hindustan Times
  • In November 2021, the Supreme Court collegium led by Chief Justice of India N. V. Ramana again recommended Saurabh for the designation of a judge at the Delhi high court and sent his name to the law ministry. The decision was applauded all across the country as Saurabh was set to become the first gay judge in India. [15]Hindustan Times [16]The Economic Times
  • The advocate also wears the hat of an author. In 2020, he published a book titled “Sex and the Supreme Court: How the Law is Upholding the Dignity of the Indian Citizen.” It is an anthology that consists of a collection of writings by well-known Indian advocates and judges including Justice A. K. Sikri, Justice B. D. Ahmed, Justice M. B. Lokur, Menaka Guruswamy, Arundhati Katju, Mukul Rohatgi, and Madhavi Divan. [17]Hindustan Times

    Book written by Saurabh Kirpal

    Book written by Saurabh Kirpal

  • According to Saurabh, his father – the former Chief Justice of India, and senior advocate Mukul Rohatgi are his mentors.
  • Saurabh is also a trustee of a Delhi-based NGO called “Naz Foundation Trust,” which is known for its major role in getting Section 377 scrapped in India. [18]Hindustan Times