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SC Collegium stalls Justice Ganediwala’s promotion over her ‘skin-to-skin contact’ judgment

By Saima Siddiqui 
Updated Date

New Delhi: Justice Pushpa V Ganediwala, the Bombay High Court judge who last year created a stir with her back-to-back controversial judgments including the ‘skin-to-skin’ verdict in the sexual assault of a minor, will reportedly not be made a permanent judge, as per sources. This is the second time that the Supreme Court collegium has rejected her elevation as a High Court judge.

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This means Justice Ganediwala, currently a temporary judge with the Bombay HC, would revert back as a District Judge at the end of her stint in the second week of February 2022.

Last year in January, after the controversy over her back-to-back insensitive judgements in the POCSO case came to light, the Collegium headed by then CJI S A Bobde was compelled to withdraw its January 20, 2020 recommendation to the Union government to appoint her as a permanent judge of Bombay HC and granted only one year extension on the ground of her insensitivity towards children facing sexual abuse. 

In her January 19, 2020 judgment, Justice Ganediwala had acquitted a 39-year-old man of Section 6 offence under POCSO Act on the ground that pressing breasts of a minor girl without removing her top didn’t entail skin-to-skin contact, hence not a Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act offence. The verdict was scrapped by the SC on November 18 after several petitions against it, including by Attorney General KK Venugopal and the National Commission for Women were filed.

Nine days after the controversial judgement, Justice Ganediwala once again stirred controversy by her January 28, 2020 judgment acquitting a 50-year-old man by ruling that holding hand of a five-year-old kid and unzipping pants in front of her could not be categorised as a sexual offence under POCSO Act, “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”. The assault victim was a five-year-old girl.

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Notably, both her judgments were overturned by the Supreme Court recently.

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