New Delhi, January 30
The Supreme Court collegium is understood to have withdrawn its approval to a proposal for the appointment of an additional judge of the Bombay High Court, Justice PV Ganediwala, as a permanent judge of the court following her two controversial verdicts in sexual assault cases.
The decision was taken after the judge faced flak for her interpretation of sexual assault under the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act, a source said.
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 did 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 KK Venugopal said the order would set a dangerous precedent.
The collegium headed by Chief Justice SA Bobde, at a meeting held on January 20, had okayed the proposal for making Justice Ganediwala a permanent judge.
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.
Justice Ganediwala was directly appointed as a district judge in 2007 and was elevated as an additional judge of the Bombay HC on February 13, 2019.
Besides the CJI, Justices NV Ramana and RF Nariman are part of the three-member collegium, which takes decisions with regard to HC judges. PTI