The Supreme Court prohibited “Two-Finger Test” in rape cases and warned that the person conducting such tests will be held guilty of misconduct.
It is regrettable that two-finger test continues to be conducted even today, a bench comprising Chief Justices DY Chandrachud and Hima Kohli regreted while restoring the conviction in a rape case.
Supreme court has time and again shown disapproval towards the use of two-finger test in cases alleging rape and sexual assault. Even this test has no scientific basis.
Such tests re-victimises and re-traumatises women. The highest court has also stated that the two-finger test must not be conducted as it is based on an incorrect assumption that a sexually active woman cannot be raped.
The evidentiary value of a woman’s testimony does not depend on her sexual history. It is patriarchal and sexist approach to suggest that a woman cannot be believed when she states that she was raped merely because she is sexually active.
The Bench of Judges directed the Union Health Ministry to ensure that survivors of sexual assault and rape are not subject to two finger test and also directed the Central Government, as well as State Governments to ensure that the guidelines formulated by the Department of Health and Family Welfare (regarding the two-finger test) are circulated to all Government and private hospitals.
The Bench further directed to conduct workshops for health providers to communicate appropriate procedure examining survivor of sexual assault.
It also directed to review curriculums in medical schools/colleges so that the two finger should be fully avoided as a procedures to be adopted while examining survivors of sexual assault and rape. This Two-finger test is an insult to their dignity.
The Two-finger test –
The two-finger test also known as the Per Vaginal(PV) or virginity test is a commonly followed practice used to check the laxity of a woman’s vaginal muscles, to find whether she is sexually active or not. The test is usually performed by an expert who inserts two fingers into the vaginal canal of a rape survivor to check the laxity of her muscles to determine whether the woman has been subjected to penetrative sex.
This test is also supposedly used to inspect whether a woman’s hymen is intact. The hymen is a thin piece of tissue that surrounds the opening of the vagina and people have a lot of misconceptions regarding it. They connect it to the virginity of women, one being that an intact hymen is proof of a woman’s virginity. But the presence of a hymen cannot be used to derive conclusions about a woman’s virginity or whether she has had sexual intercourse because there are lots of reasons due to which hymen can tear. There are Hormonal reasons even some are born with it. The physical exercises like yoga, cycling, running, jumping and many more other elements are responsible for it.
Therefore, it is the best decision we say made by this bench of SC to eliminate these social stigmas which are still prevalent in our society.