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Setback For Justice Pushpa Ganediwala, Bombay High Court Judge Who Gave No Skin-To-Skin Contact Sexual Assault Order: Sources

Justice Pushpa Ganediwala is currently a Judge in the Nagpur Bench of Bombay High Court.

New Delhi:

Justice Pushpa V Ganediwala, the Bombay High Court judge who delivered controversial orders like the “skin-to-skin” verdict in the sexual assault of a minor, will not be made a permanent judge, sources have told NDTV. This is the second time that the Supreme Court collegium has rejected her elevation as a High Court judge.

This means Justice Ganediwala, currently a temporary judge with the Bombay High Court, will return to her District Judge post when her stint ends in February.

Earlier this year, the Centre had granted Justice Ganediwala an extension but had reduced the usual two-year period to one.

The Centre’s decision came a month after the Supreme Court panel, in a rare instance, withdrew its recommendation to the government to confirm her permanent status as a Bombay High Court judge. Justice Ganediwala needs “more exposure” in such cases, sources in the Supreme Court had then told NDTV.

“There is nothing personal against her. She needs exposure and may not have dealt with these types of cases when she was a lawyer…She needs exposure and training,” a source had told NDTV.

In a January 19 ruling, Justice Ganediwala raised eyebrows when she ruled that groping a minor’s breast without “skin-to-skin contact” cannot be termed as sexual assault as defined under the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act. The verdict was scrapped by the Supreme Court on November 18 after several petitions against it, including by Attorney General KK Venugopal and the National Commission for Women.

Later, in another case, Justice Ganediwala controversially ruled that “the acts of ‘holding the hands of the prosecutrix’ (female victim), or ‘opened zip of the pant’…does not fit in the definition of ‘sexual assault’,” and cancelled the conviction of a man under POCSO or the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences. The assault victim was a five-year-old girl.

Following these judgments, the Collegium reversed its decision to recommend Justice Ganediwala a permanent judge, sources said.

The Supreme Court Collegium is rarely known to recall or withdraw the recommendations it makes to the government. Besides Chief Justice NV Ramana, Justices UU Lalit and Justice AM Khanwilkar are part of the three-member Collegium, which takes decisions related to various High Court judges.


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