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Jolt for Bombay HC judge who ruled 'skin-to-skin contact' necessary for POCSO offences
Justice Pushpa V Ganediwala
Image: bombayhighcourt.nic.in

Jolt for Bombay HC judge who ruled 'skin-to-skin contact' necessary for POCSO offences

| @indiablooms | 16 Dec 2021, 04:20 pm

New Delhi/IBNS:  Justice Pushpa V Ganediwala, the Bombay High Court judge who passed the controversial "skin-to-skin contact" judgment in the case of a minor's sexual assault, will not be made a permanent judge, according to media reports.

This is the second time, the Supreme Court has rejected her elevation.

Justice Ganediwala, who is a temporary judge in the Bombay High Court, will return to her District Judge post when her stint ends in February.

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

The decision came a month after the Supreme Court in a rare instance withdrew its recommendation to elevate Justice Ganediwala to a permanent judge in Bombay High Court.

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.

On January 19, Justice Pushpa Ganediwala of the Nagpur bench of Bombay High Court had ruled that groping a minor's breast without skin-to-skin contact cannot be considered a sexual assault.

Ganediwala had modified the order of a sessions court that awarded a 39-year-old man three-year imprisonment for sexually assaulting a 12-year old girl.

Considering the stringent nature of punishment provided for the offence (under POCSO), in the opinion of this court, stricter proof and serious allegations are required," she had ruled.

"The act of pressing the breast of the child aged 12 years, in the absence of any specific detail as to whether the top was removed or whether he inserted his hand inside the top and pressed her breast, would not fall in the definition of sexual assault," the order further said.

The verdict had elicited a nationwide outcry.

On November 18, the Supreme Court in its judgment scrapped Justice Ganediwala's verdict that "skin-to-skin contact is essential for POCSO offences".

"Giving narrow meaning of physical contact to confine it to 'skin-to-skin contact' will defeat the purpose of POCSO Act and it cannot be accepted, '' said the court and convicted two accused to various jail terms who had inappropriately touched a minor girl.

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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