Theme : Government Policies & Interventions
Paper : GS - 2
TABLE OF CONTENT
- Per-Vaginum Examination or Two- Finger Test
- Re-Traumatized Women
- Why is the Two-Finger Test Banned?
- What did the Government & Courts Say?
- Road Ahead
Context : The Supreme Court recently declared that any person conducting the Invasive ‘two-finger’ or ‘three-finger’ vaginal test on rape or sexual assault survivors will be found guilty of misconduct.
Per-Vaginum Examination or Two- Finger Test :
The guidelines state: “Per-Vaginum examination commonly referred to by lay persons as ‘two-finger’ test must not be conducted for establishing rape, sexual violence” by medical practitioners who carry out medico-legal examination of victims of sexual assault.
Re-Traumatized Women :
- Justice D.Y. Chandrachud said the sole reason behind using the “regressive” test on traumatised sexual assault survivors is to see whether the woman or girl was “habituated” to sexual intercourse.
- The faulty logic behind the test was that “a woman cannot be believed when she said she was raped merely for the reason that she was sexually active”.
- This so-called test has no scientific basis and neither proves nor disproves allegations of rape. It instead re-victimises and re-traumatises women who may have been sexually assaulted, and is an affront to their dignity.
Why is the Two-Finger Test Banned?
Re-victimises and re-traumatized women: First, there is the gruesome act and then follows the difficult task of reporting the assault.
An impediment to report a sexual offence: As the two-finger test causes a horror upon horrors.
An affront to dignity & privacy of women: The two-finger test undoubtedly violated the right of rape survivors to privacy, physical and mental integrity, and dignity.
No scientific basis for the test: The test is based on the incorrect assumption that a sexually active woman cannot be raped.
It is irrelevant for the purposes of determining whether there has been a rape under Section 375 of the Indian Penal Code.
Patriarchal: It is patriarchal and sexist to suggest that a woman cannot be believed when she states that she was raped.
What did the Government & Courts Say?
The Court pointed at a legislative measure of 2013 when Section 53A was added to the Indian Evidence Act which clearly said that the “evidence of a victim’s character or of her previous sexual experience with any person shall not be relevant to the issue of consent or the quality of consent, in prosecutions of sexual offences.
The 2013 SC judgment called the test as cruel, inhuman, or degrading.
It added that a victim’s health, both mental and physical, should be of paramount consideration when dealing with gender-based violence.
The Ministry of Health and Family Welfare had issued guidelines (2014), saying the finger test must not be conducted.
Road Ahead :
- Ensure that guidelines formulated by the health ministry in 2014 were circulated to all government and private hospitals.
- Conduct workshops for health providers to communicate the appropriate procedure to be adopted while examining survivors of sexual assault and rape
- Review the curriculum in medical schools with a view to ensuring that the two-finger test is not prescribed as one of the procedures to be adopted while examining survivors of sexual assault and rape.
1. When did MoH&FW issued guidelines about the Two-Finger Test?
Answer : The Ministry of Health and Family Welfare had issued guidelines (2014), saying the finger test must not be conducted.
2. Is Two Finger Test Scientific ?
Answer : No, It is not Scientific.