‘Impossible for Rape Accused to Gag Victim & Remove Clothes,’ Says Bombay HC Justice Ganediwala

Bombay High Court (File Image)

The controversy surrounding Bombay High Court Justice Pushpa Ganediwala doesn’t seem to stop,  days after her recent judgements in a sexual assault case, which stirred up massive backlash, she has again found herself in the muddy waters.

In another case, Justice Pushpa Ganediwala of the Nagpur bench of Bombay High Court recently acquitted a rape accused, stating that it seemed “highly impossible for a single man to gag the victim and remove her and his clothes at the same time without any scuffle.” Ganediwala recently acquitted a man accused of groping a 12-year old girl’s breast because he did not make skin-to-skin contact, and days earlier, ruled that holding the hands of a five-year-old girl and unzipping pants do not amount to ‘sexual assault’ under the POCSO Act.

In this case, Justice Ganediwala was hearing an appeal against the conviction of a rape accused. In July 2013, the victim’s mother had lodged a complaint against the accused, who was their neighbour. She said her daughter was 15-years-old when he raped her. Subsequently, the police filed an FIR and a charge-sheet.

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In her judgement she said, “It seems highly impossible for a single man to gag the mouth of the prosecutrix (the victim) and remove her clothes and his clothes and to perform the forcible sexual act, without any scuffle. The medical evidence also does not support the case of the prosecutrix,” the bench observed, according to a report by various media outlets.

Notably, this is the same court that recently acquitted an appellant under the POCSO Act ruling that pressing of the breast of a child without “skin to skin contact with sexual intent” does not constitute “sexual assault” under the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act. However, the Supreme Court on Wednesday stayed this order of the Nagpur Bench of Bombay High Court.

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