Judge who delivered controversial POCSO verdicts, not made permanent

 Justice Pushpa Ganediwala will continue as an Additional Judge of the Bombay High Court

pushpa ganediwala

Justice Pushpa Ganediwala of the Bombay High Court, who had authored some controversial judgments on Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act in January, will continue as an Additional Judge (AJ) for one more year.

A notification issued by the Government of India, Ministry of Law and Justice dated February 12, 2021, reads, “In exercise of the power conferred by clause (1) of the Article 224 of the Constitution of India, the President is pleased to appoint Smt. Pushpa Virendra Ganediwala, to be an Additional Judge of the Bombay High Court for a period of one year with effect from February 13, 2021”.

Initially, she was supposed to serve as an Additional Judge for a period of two years from February 8, 2019, as per a Government notification issued by the Department of Justice. But this term has now been extended and she will continue as an AJ of the Bombay High Court for another year.

The judgments delivered by her handed down acquittals in separate cases under the POCSO Act. This prompted the Supreme Court collegium to withdraw its recommendation to confirm her permanent status in the High Court, reported The Wire.

On January 15, she held that the act of holding hands of a minor or unzipping pants of the accused at the relevant time, does not amount to sexual assault as defined under Section 7 of the POCSO Act.

Justice Ganediwala then set aside his conviction under POCSO Act and charged him under Indian Penal Code section which deals with “physical contact and advances involving unwelcome and explicit sexual overtures” under section 354A (1) (i). This IPC section attracts a maximum imprisonment of 3 years but the Single Bench held that the 5 months imprisonment already undergone by the accused was sufficient punishment for the offence set him free.

On January 19, she acquitted a rape accused under POCSO charges, ruling that the act of pressing the breast of a child aged 12 years without removing her top will not fall within the definition of ‘sexual assault’ under Section 7 of POCSO Act. After much uproar, and intervention in the Supreme Court by women and child right groups, the top court stayed the judgment.

Besides POCSO cases, on February 1, Justice Pushpa Ganediwala acquitted a husband accused of cruelty and abetment to suicide of wife, while holding that the allegations of demand of money is a ‘vague term’, and that there was no specific instance of harassment.

The notification may be read here: 


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Holding hands and unzipping pants, not sexual assault under POCSO Act: Bombay HC

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