Judge Who Gave “No Skin-To-Skin Contact” Order Resigns

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Bombay High Court judge Justice Pushpa Ganediwala, who faced flak over a series of judgments that was deemed as controversial for the interpretation of what constitutes as ‘sexual assault’ under the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act, has resigned.

Justice Ganediwala, who presently presides at the Nagpur bench of the Bombay High Court, tendered her resignation on Thursday, a day before her tenure as additional judge was to end as she was neither given extension nor elevation by the Supreme Court collegium, official sources in the high court said.

After her problematic judgments given in January and February 2021, the Supreme Court collegium had withdrawn its recommendation to appoint Justice Ganediwala as a permanent judge and instead extended for one year her tenure as additional judge. The tenure ends on Friday.

This meant that Justice Ganediwala would be demoted back to district judiciary as district sessions judge at the end of her additional judgeship on February 12, 2022.

With neither an extension granted to her tenure as additional judge nor an appointment as permanent judge of the high court, Justice Ganediwala tendered her resignation. Official sources said her resignation has been accepted.

Justice Ganediwala had come under the scanner for a slew of judgments passed in January and February 2021, which ruled that there has to be ‘skin-to-skin contact with sexual intent’ in order for the act to be considered as an offence of sexual assault under the POCSO Act and that ‘holding hands of a minor girl and opening of zip of his pants’ does not fall under the definition of ‘sexual assault’ under the Act.

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