New Delhi: Justice Pushpa Ganediwala, who came into limelight because of her controversial judgements in two sexual harassment cases that led to the Supreme Court Collegium withdrawing its recommendation to make her permanent, was given a fresh one-year term as an additional judge at the Bombay high court.
This will come as a setback for her as the SC Collegium had recommended granting her a two-year term. Her new term would be effective from February 13, after her earlier tenure came to an end on Friday.
Last month, the collegium had withdrawn its approval to make her a permanent additional judge at the high court after her verdicts exonerating two rape accused persons on alleged flimsy grounds received much criticism. Her interpretation of the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act in the two cases was questioned by many when she ruled that groping a minor without “skin-to-skin” contact could not be termed as sexual assault. In another case, she also ruled that holding the hands of a five-year-old girl and unzipping the trousers do not amount to “sexual assault” under the POCSO Act.
Against this backdrop, the government issued a notification on Friday extending her term only for a year. NDTV reported that its sources said that “instead of asking the collegium to reconsider its recommendation of a fresh two-year term, the government decided to extend the period by only one year”.
On January 27, the SC stayed her decision acquitting the rape accused person after Attorney General K.K.Venugopal objected to it and said that the ruling would set a dangerous precedent. Only a few days before this on January 20, the three-member SC collegium, headed by Chief Justice S.A. Bobde and assisted by Justices N.V. Ramana and R.F. Nariman, had approved her appointment as a permanent judge.
(With inputs from PTI)