The Supreme Court Collegium is learnt to have declined confirmation to Justice Pushpa Ganediwala as a permanent judge of the Bombay High Court, against the backdrop of her controversial “skin-to-skin” judgement.
The collegium is headed by Chief Justice N.V. Ramana and comprising Justices U.U. Lalit and A.M. Khanwilkar.
On November 18, the Supreme Court set aside her two controversial judgments passed in January this year, interpreting sexual assault provisions under the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act. The top court had said the Bombay High Court’s judgements making skin-to-skin contact necessary for offence of sexual assault against a child, undermines her dignity and autonomy, through unwanted intrusions.
The woman judge also faced a widespread criticism after she granted bail to a man accused of groping a minor, saying that there was no “skin-to-skin contact and hence, it cannot be termed as sexual assault” under the POCSO Act.
The Supreme Court collegium, in its latest recommendations, has approved the proposal for the appointment of three additional judges of the Bombay High Court Justices as permanent judges. These are Justices Madhav Jayajirao Jamdar, Justice Amit Bhalchandra Borkar, and Justice Shrikant Dattatray Kulkarni.
“The Supreme Court Collegium in its meeting held on 14th December, 2021, has resolved to recommend that Justice Abhay Ahuja be appointed as Additional Judge of the Bombay High Court for a fresh term of one year w.e.f. 4th March, 2022,” said a statement published on top court’s website.
However, Justice Ganediwala has neither received an extension or confirmation. Her term will end in February 2022.
According to sources, the collegium has again decided not to make additional judge Justice Ganediwala, a permanent judge of the high court.
Earlier, the collegium headed by the then Chief Justice S.A. Bobde had approved her ad hoc extension as an additional judge for two years. However, the Centre cleared her extension only for a year.