Bombay HC Judge Who Gave POCSO Orders to Not be Permanent for 1 Yr
The govt issued a notification, confirming Justice Ganediwala’s continuation as additional judge for a 1-year term.
Bombay High Court judge, Justice Pushpa Ganediwala, who was behind various contentious judgments pertaining to the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act, was sworn-in as an additional judge of the court for a one-year tenure on Saturday, 13 February, after it was confirmed that she will not be appointed as a permanent judge.
The Law Ministry issued a notification on Friday, confirming Justice Ganediwala's continuation as an additional judge, reported LiveLaw. This came after the revised recommendation of the Supreme Court collegium to not elevate Justice Ganediwala as a permanent judge of Bombay HC, and to allow her to continue as additional judge.
According to NDTV, while the collegium's recommendation was to give her a two-year fresh term as an additional judge, the government's notification extended her term for only one year.
Justice Ganediwala was administered the oath on Saturday by Justice Nitin Jamdar of the Nagpur Bench, while Chief Justice Dipankar Datta participated in the event virtually, reported Bar & Bench.
THE CONTENTIOUS JUDGEMENTS
Justice Ganediwala, an additional judge of the Nagpur bench of the Bombay High Court, had come in for serious flak over her acquittals of men under the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act, including one where she held that groping a minor without ‘skin-to-skin’ contact shouldn’t be considered sexual assault.
Other judgments that have come to light include acquitting (of POCSO Act offences) a man who had been found holding the hand of a minor girl with his pants unzipped, and clearing a man of rape charges because there hadn’t been a scuffle to indicate forced sex.
BUT NOT EVERYBODY WAS AGAINST HER APPOINTMENT
Meanwhile, a group of lawyers had drafted a representation to the Supreme Court collegium seeking reconsideration, after it withdrew recommendation to appoint Justice Ganediwala as a permanent judge of the Bombay High Court.
Signatures from members of the High Court Bar Association (HCBA) and District Bar Association (DBA) members were taken to make the representation, reported The Times of India.
It was decided that this would be sent to President of India Ramnath Kovind, Chief Justice of India SA Bobde, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, among others.
WHY WAS RECOMMENDATION WITHDRAWN?
The ‘three-judge collegium’ of SC judges that appoints high court judges had recommended her permanent appointment to the high court on 20 January, but later withdrew this recommendation.
The Times of India had reported that Justices DY Chandrachud and AM Khanwilkar – who are not part of the three-judge collegium but began their judicial careers in the Bombay High Court – “reiterated their strong reservations against making Justice Ganediwala a permanent judge of the HC in closed-door conversations.”
Both these judges had objected to her appointment as an additional judge in the first place (in February 2019), and thanks to the recent controversy, were able to convince one of the members of the three-judge collegium to withdraw their consent to her permanent appointment, The Times of India noted.
Justice Ganediwala started serving as an additional judge of Bombay HC from February 2019.
(With inputs from LiveLaw Bar & Bench, NDTV and The Times of India)
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