In a landmark ruling, the Supreme Court banned the `two-finger test’ in rape cases.
The apex court warned that people conducting such tests will be held for misconduct.
The Court was deciding an appeal filed against a judgment of the Telangana High Court which overturned the conviction recorded by a trial court in a rape case.
The test is conducted to check whether the victim has had recent sexual intercourse. The test relies upon the presence or absence of the victim’s hymen.
Justices DY Chandrachud and Hima Kohli while restoring the conviction in a rape case, said that it is regrettable that the “two-finger test” continues to be conducted even today.
The bench announcing the judgment said, “This court has time and again deprecated the use of two finger test in cases alleging rape and sexual assault. The so-called test has no scientific basis. It instead re-victimizes and re-traumatizes women.”
The two-finger test must not be conducted. The test is based on an incorrect assumption that a sexually active woman cannot be raped. Nothing can be further from the truth”, added the bench while pronouncing the judgment.
The judge duo further added that the probative value of a woman’s testimony does not depend on her sexual history. 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.
The judgment also directed the Union Health Ministry to ensure that survivors of sexual assault and rape are not subject to two finger test.
Both the Union government, as well as state government, were directed by judges to ensure that the guidelines formulated by the Department of Health and Family Welfare (proscribes two-finger test) are circulated to all government and private hospitals.
Workshops for health providers to communicate appropriate procedures examining survivors of sexual assault.
Review curriculums in medical schools so that the two-finger test is not prescribed as one of the procedures to be adopted while examining survivors of sexual assault and rape.