Judge who gave ‘skin-to-skin’ verdict resigns after being denied promotion
Pushpa Ganediwala of the Bombay High Court had created controversy with her interpretation of what constitutes as sexual assault under the POCSO Act.
Justice Pushpa Ganediwala on Thursday resigned from her post of additional judge at the Bombay High Court after the Supreme Court collegium refused to elevate her to the designation of a permanent judge, Live Law reported.
Her tenure as an additional judge was set to end on February 12.
Ganediwala had courted controversy last year after she adjudicated that “skin-to-skin contact” between an accused person and a minor was necessary to establish a case under the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act.
She had held that groping a minor’s breast without removing her clothes did not fall into the category of sexual assault defined under Section 7 of the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act. In another verdict in January last year, Ganediwala had ruled that holding a minors’ hands and unzipping pants in front of them will not fall under the definition of sexual assault under the POCSO Act.
In December, the Supreme Court collegium decided not to extend her tenure as an additional judge, or elevate her as a permanent judge.
The developments came month after the Supreme Court had set aside the “skin-to-skin” judgement. The court held that “sexual intent” was the most important factor in establishing sexual assault as an offence under POCSO Act and “skin-to-skin contact” in such incidents was not relevant.
The Supreme Court had also said that verdict would set a dangerous precedent.
Ganediwala became a district judge in 2007 and was elevated as an additional judge of the Bombay High Court in February 2019 for a term of two years, according to Live Law. A month after she gave the “skin-to-skin” judgement last year, the Supreme Court collegium had extended her tenure by a year, but no such extension was given this year.