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Fri. Feb 3rd, 2023
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JAIPUR: People misunderstand exactly how dependent judgments of laws are on the views of individual justices, senior advocate Saurabh Kirpal said at an event here on Monday.
“There are 34 judges of the Supreme Court; there are 15 benches sitting at any point of time, between two judges and three judges, and we who practise in that court often laugh and say that there is not one Supreme Court of India; there are 15 Supreme Courts of India,” he said.
The SC Collegium, led by CJI D Y Chandrachud, had recently reiterated its November 11, 2021 recommendation for appointing Kirpal as a Delhi HC judge, rejecting suggestions that his “ardent involvement” in gay right issues could result in possible “bias and prejudice”.
“Depending on where your matter goes, who those two judges are, the outcome can be completely, radically different. Some judges will have a very conservative mindset, some will have a liberal mindset, some are inherently anti-government, and some are inherently pro-government. This is not party political, this is not an ideological belief that government is right or wrong, this is just their view.”
Citing the decriminalisation of homosexuality in India as an example, senior advocate Saurabh Kirpal said the same apex court that had dismissed a petition against Section 377 of the IPC in 2013 later delivered a landmark judgment on the subject.
Kirpal, who was speaking at the Jaipur Literature Festival on the book “Fifteen Judgments: Cases that Shaped India’s Financial Landscape”, also highlighted the link between law and society. “Is it possible to have law distinct from what is happening in society or not? And the answer is, it’s probably symbiotic at some level. Law reflects what society is because, after all, you can’t stray too much from what people think, need and desire,” he said.
“If law is to have some legitimacy, it must comply to some extent with what people want. We can’t live in a society …we don’t want to ever live in a society where law is enforced by danda. Law has to be enforced because people believe it is worthwhile to follow the law…,” Kirpal said.

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