Anyone conducting ‘two-finger’ test on sexual assault survivors will be held guilty of misconduct: Supreme Court

Source: The post is based on the article “Anyone conducting ‘two-finger’ test on sexual assault survivors will be held guilty of misconduct: Supreme Court” published in The Hindu on 1st November 2022.

What is the News?

The Supreme Court has 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.

What is a two-finger test?

The two-finger test is an invasive, unscientific and regressive practice where two fingers are inserted into the vagina to assess the laxity of vaginal muscles and examine the hymen. In rape cases, this test is used to gauge whether a person is sexually active.

What did the Supreme Court say about the two-finger test?

The Supreme Court has 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.

The court said that this 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. 

The court said that the legislature had amended the criminal law in 2013 to introduce Section 53A in the Indian Evidence Act.

Note: Section 53A says that the evidence of a victim’s character or her previous sexual experience with any person shall not be relevant to the issue of consent or the quality of consent in the prosecution of sexual offences.

The court also highlighted the guidelines issued by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare for health providers in cases of sexual violence. These guidelines have forbid the application of the two-finger test.

What are the directions issued by the Supreme Court on this?

The court ordered that a) The guidelines issued by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare should be circulated to private and government hospitals, b) Workshops should be held for health providers to prevent the test from being conducted on rape survivors, c) The curriculum in medical schools should be revised, and d) The judgment should be circulated to the health and home departments of the States. The home departments should circulate the judgment to the Director Generals of Police in the States.

Print Friendly and PDF