The Supreme Court Collegium withdrew its consent to make Justice Pushpa V Ganediwala a permanent judge of Bombay High Court who prompted controversial judgments acquitting accused persons under the POCSO Act.
On January 20 the three-member Collegium headed by Chief Justice of India, SA Bobde, comprising Justices NV Ramana and Rohinton Fali Nariman had made recommendation to the Central government to make Justice Ganediwala a permanent judge.
The decision to withdraw the recommendation came after two senior Supreme Court judges, Justices DY Chandrachud and AM Khanwilkar conveyed their reservations to the Collegium to make Justice Ganediwala a permanent judge.
Justice Ganediwala was appointed additional judge of Bombay High Court on February 8, 2019. She started her judicial career in 2007 when she was appointed District Judge. She has held postings as City Civil Court, Mumbai; District Court and Family Court at Nagpur; Joint Director of Maharashtra Judicial Academy (MJA); Principal District & Sessions Judge, Nagpur; Registrar General, High Court of Judicature at Bombay and also Principal Judge at City Civil Court, Mumbai.
Justice Ganediwala had handed down three acquittals under the POCSO Act in three separate cases in a week including:
January 14 Judgment (Jageshwar Wasudeo Kawle v. State of Maharashtra)
She reversed a conviction order after noting that there was nothing supporting the prosecution’s case for rape.
January 15 Judgment (Libnus v. State of Maharashtra)
She held that the act of holding hands of a minor or the zip of the pants of the accused being open at the relevant time, does not amount to sexual assault as defined under Section 7 of the POCSO Act.
January 19 Judgment (Satish Ragde v. State of Maharashtra)
She ruled that the act of pressing the breast of a child aged 12 years without removing her top will not fall within the definition of ‘sexual assault’ under Section 7 of POCSO. This third ruling had caused an uproar with the Supreme Court staying the judgment on a mentioning made by Attorney General KK Venugopal.
It was a day after third POCSO ruling that the Collegium recommended that she be made permanent judge though news about the ruling had not come in public domain then.