Justice Pushpa Ganediwala, the author of a slew of controversial judgments on the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act, today took oath as an additional judge of the Bombay High Court for one more year.
The oath taking ceremony was telecast live on YouTube from the Nagpur Bench of the High Court and was attended by Chief Justice Dipankar Datta virtually.
Justice Nitin Jamdar, senior most judge at the Nagpur Bench, administered the oath of Justice Ganediwala.
The confirmation of Justice Ganediwala’s continuation as an additional judge came on Friday, after the Ministry of Law and Justice issued a notification to that effect.
The notification from the Ministry came after the revised decision of the Supreme Court Collegium to not make her a permanent judge.
The Collegium had, on January 20, approved the proposal to appoint Justice Ganediwala as a permanent judge and had passed a resolution to that effect.
Subsequently, three acquittals handed down by Justice Ganediwala under the POCSO Act came to the Collegium’s notice. The acquittals were in three separate cases, all within a week.
In a judgment delivered on January 14, she reversed a conviction order after noting that there was nothing supporting the prosecution’s case for rape (Jageshwar Wasudeo Kawle v. State of Maharashtra).
On January 15, 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 (Libnus v. State of Maharashtra).
A third judgment was delivered on January 19 in which she ruled that the act of pressing the breast of a 12-year-old child without removing her top will not fall within the definition of ‘sexual assault’ under Section 7 of POCSO (Satish Ragde v. State of Maharashtra).
This third ruling had caused an uproar, with the Supreme Court staying the judgment on a mentioning made by Attorney General KK Venugopal.
These rulings then prompted the Supreme Court Collegium to recall its recommendation of January 20 by which it had agreed to make Justice Ganediwala a permanent judge of the Bombay High Court.
Justice Ganediwala was appointed additional judge of Bombay High Court on February 8, 2019. She started her judicial career in 2007 as a District Judge.