Law Ministry reprimands High Court judge who ruled ‘groping without skin to skin not sexual assault’


Ministry of Law and justice has reduced the term of extension of a Bombay High Court additional judge by one year following two controversial verdicts that she delivered recently in cases pertaining to sexual assault.

Bombay High Court additional judge by his one of the most controversial of her verdicts was on January 24 came into limeligh.

The verdict was delivered by Justice Pushpa Ganediwala who observed that, “the act of pressing of breast of the child aged 12 years, in the absence of any specific detail as to whether the top was removed or whether he inserted his hand inside top and pressed her breast, would not fall in the definition of ‘sexual assault.”

According to the learned Judge, “having regard to the nature of the alleged act by the appellant and having regard to the circumstances, in the opinion of this Court, the alleged act fit into the definition of the offence as defined in Section 354 of the Indian Penal Code.” It thereby set aside the ruling of the lower court with regards to section 8 of the POCSO Act.

Later on 27th January the Supreme Court stayed the order passed by the Bombay High Court that held that the pressing of a breast of a 12-year-old child without removing her top would not be considered as sexual assault as per Section 7 of the POCSO.

The Apex Court stated, “Bombay High Court has apparently acquitted the accused under Section 8 of POCSO on the ground that the accused had no sexual intent to commit offence under POCSO because there was no skin-to skin contact. Attorney General submitted that the order in question is unprecedented and is likely to set a dangerous precedent.”

High Court additional Judge Pushpa Ganediwala’s fresh tenure would be effective from February 13. Her earlier tenure as an additional judge was to end on Friday. Last month, the Supreme Court Collegium had withdrawn its approval to a proposal for the appointment of additional judge, Justice Ganediwala as a permanent judge of the Bombay High Court.

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