The Supreme Court collegium took a step of withdrawing their recommendations to the Centre to make Pushpa Virendra Ganediwala, an additional judge in Bombay HC, a permanent judge. This step was taken considering the back-to-back controversial judgments relating to sexual offences such as ‘skin-to-skin’ contact is necessary for sexual assault and another judgement stating holding hands of a minor girl & opening pant zip not ‘Sexual Assault’ but ‘Sexual Harassment’ that Justice Ganediwala has taken.
Justice Ganediwala took everyone by a shock on January 19th when she acquitted a 39-year old man from the charge under Section 6 of the POCSO act on grounds that pressing the breasts of a minor is not a sexual offence under the act as there is no skin-to-skin contact.
A day later Chief Justice S A Bobde who headed the collegium disregarded the serious objections raised by the Senior Judges and approved the proposal of Justice Ganediwala as a permanent judge of the HC.
There was huge public criticism against the skin-to-skin contact logic which displayed the insensitivity of Judge towards minor girds who were subjected to Sexual assault. The Senior Judges A M Khanwilkar and DY Chandrachud had raised serious objections against making Justice Ganediwala a permanent Judge in closed-door conversations. Both of them hailing from Bombay HC had reservations against her appointment as an additional judge in the High Court as well.
Justices A M Khanwilkar and D Y Chandrachud were not a part of the 3-member collegium that would decide the confirmations, appointments, and transfers, however, they convinced a member of the collegium to withdraw his consent to approve of Justice Ganediwala becoming a permanent judge.
Justice Ganediwala made the job of the CJI much easier just when he was deliberating on the move of recalling the proposal he had already sent to the Centre, by giving a second controversial judgment on January 28th, where she acquitted a 50-year-old man by ruling that holding a 5-year-old girls hand and unzipped his pants is not an offence under POCSO.
After this judgment, the collegium decided that she will continue to be an additional judge of the Nagpur bench for one or two years and recalled their proposal approving of her appointment as a permanent judge. The SC judges felt that Justice Ganediwala must have a better understanding of the object and the aim of the POCSO Act.
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