In the present case while examining the victim, the Medical Board conducted what is known as the ‘two-finger test’ to determine whether she was habituated to sexual intercourse.
The Judgment on Two Finger Test
It was held that this so-called test has no scientific basis and neither proves nor disproves allegations of rape. It instead re-victimizes and re-traumatizes women who may have been sexually assaulted, and is an affront to their dignity. The ‘two-finger test’ or pre-vaginum test must not be conducted. The Supreme Court further stated that it is ‘patriarchal and sexist’ to suggest that a woman cannot be believed when she states that she was raped merely because she is sexually active.
Justice DY Chandrachud further cited the case of Lillu & Anr vs State of Haryana, in which the court held that “rape survivors are entitled to legal recourse that does not re- traumatize them or violate their physical or mental integrity and dignity. They are also entitled to medical procedures conducted in a manner that respects their right to consent. Medical procedures should not be carried out in a manner that constitutes cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment and health should be of paramount consideration while dealing with gender-based violence. The State is under an obligation to make such services available to survivors of sexual violence. Proper measures should be taken to ensure their safety and there should be no arbitrary or unlawful interference with their privacy. Thus, in view of the above, undoubtedly, the two-finger test and its interpretation violates the right of rape survivors to privacy, physical and mental integrity and dignity.”
He added, “The so-called test is based on the incorrect assumption that a sexually active woman cannot be raped. Nothing could be further from the truth – a woman’s sexual history is wholly immaterial while adjudicating whether the accused raped her. The probative value of a woman’s testimony does not depend on her sexual history.”
The top court issued a slew of orders to ensure that its earlier rulings were followed, directing the federal government and the states to make sure that all public and private hospitals received the department of health and family welfare’s guidelines banning the two-finger test.
It further said that workshops must be conducted for health care providers to communicate appropriate procedure for examining survivors of sexual assault.
The court also favored a review of the curriculum in medical schools to state that the two-finger test is not prescribed as one of the procedures to be adopted while examining survivors of sexual assault and rape.
The SC of India passed the judgment on Monday while setting aside the acquittal of a man in a rape and murder case, and sentencing him to life term.
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