Justice Pushpa: Bombay HC Judge behind POCSO rulings

Justice Pushpa Ganediwala: Bombay HC Judge behind the controversial POCSO rulings

With four back-to-back judgements that are generating controversy, Justice Pushpa Ganediwala of the Bombay High Court has come into sharp focus.

Justice Ganediwala (52) hails from Vidarbha region of Maharashtra.

Presiding in the Nagpur bench of the Bombay High Court, the verdicts in January 2021, has come in appeals in cases where the provisions of the Indian Penal Code and Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act, 2012, has been applied against the accused who had got convictions in lower courts.

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In the past also, Justice Ganediwala had given some judgements that had been widely discussed.

Born in Paratwada in Amravati on 11 March 1969, she has been a topper throughout and had been outstanding in her studies and career.

She was meritorious throughout her educational career and awarded Gold Medals in B.Com., LL.B. and LL.M. examinations. She has cleared NET-SET Examination in the very first attempt.

Thereafter, she practised in Amravati District Court – and was panel Advocate for various Banks and Insurance companies.

Read | Unzipping pants, holding minor’s hand not sexual assault: Bombay HC

She was Honorary Lecturer in various colleges in Amravati and gave lectures to M.B.A. and LL.M. students of Amravati University.

The 52-year-old advocate was directly appointed as District Judge in 2007 and held postings as City Civil Court, Mumbai; District Court and Family Court at Nagpur; Joint Director of Maharashtra Judicial Academy (MJA); Principal District & Sessions Judge, Nagpur; Registrar General, High Court of Judicature at Bombay and also Principal Judge at City Civil Court, Mumbai.

She was elevated as Additional Judge of Bombay High Court on 13 February 2019 to serve in Mumbai and subsequently posted in Nagpur bench.

Read | Supreme Court stays Bombay High Court's 'skin-to-skin' verdict in minor's groping case

In the first verdict, Justice Ganediwala stated that groping a minor's breast without 'skin to skin contact' cannot be termed as sexual assault under the POCSO Act. The Supreme Court stayed the judgement.

However, in the second verdict, she mentioned that “unzipping pants" or "holding a minor’s hand” does not amount to “sexual assault” under the POCSO Act.

In the third judgement, she noted that highly impossible for a man to gag a girl, de-nude her and self and then rape a 15-year old girl without a scuffle.

Then came the fourth judgement, in acquitted a man of rape against a minor girl, holding that the “prosecutrix’s testimony wasn’t of sufficient quality” to be the sole basis to convict him as there was no other relevant evidence of sexual intercourse.

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