Supreme Court Reacts After Bombay HC judge’s Controversial Sex Assault Orders

Story Highlights
  • Supreme court withdraw the permanent status of the Bombay High Court judge, who ruled out two controversial orders on sexual assault
  • A source of the Supreme court said that she (Pushpa Ganediwala) needs more experience as a lawyer in such cases
  • The Collegium on January 20, had approved the proposal for making Justice P.Ganediwala a permanent judge

The Supreme Court Collegium, which takes decisions regarding high court judges, has withdrawn its recommendation for the permanent appointment of Bombay High Court’s additional judge Pushpa Ganediwala, who had recently delivered two controversial verdicts in sexual assault cases. According to a source, the decision is not to grant permission status, based on the possible need for ‘more exposure’ in such cases.

The three-member Collegium, comprising of Chief Justice of India SA Bobde and Justices RF Nariman and NV Ramana, decided severe criticism of the judge’s interpretation of sexual assault under the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act, said a source.

Justice Pushpa Ganediwala recently acquitted a man accused of groping a 12-year-old girl’s breast because he did not make skin-to-skin contact and days earlier, ruled that holding the hands of a five-year-old girl and unzipping the trousers do not amount to “sexual assault” under the POCSO Act.

On January 27, the Supreme Court stayed the Bombay High Court order acquitting the man after Attorney General K K Venugopal said the order would set a dangerous precedent. According to a source, the judge needs “more exposure and training” and there’s “nothing personal against her”.

The collegium, headed by CJI Bobde, at a meeting held on January 20, had approved the proposal for making Justice Ganediwala a permanent judge. In the process of appointing judges or making them permanent, the Collegium has to send its recommendation to the Centre for approval, which are sometimes returned with queries.

In two other judgments this month, Justice Ganediwala acquitted two men accused of raping minor girls after noting that the testimonies of the victims did not inspire confidence to fix criminal liability on the accused.

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