Two Finger Test: SC observed that the two-finger test has “no scientific basis”
Two-finger test is one of those tests which is done to check whether the victim has had a sexual intercourse recently
Post by LAVANYA BHATT on Thursday, November 3, 2022
Supreme court consisting of bench of Justice DY Chandrachud and Justice Hima Kohli recently observed that, “the two-finger test has 'no scientific basis' and 'only re-victimises and re-traumatises women' and it must not be conducted.”
Before 1979, the UK followed a convention for clinical assessment of ladies who were moving to their country to wed their fiancées. This convention would have continued perpetually if a 35-year-old Indian lady had not raised her voice after being inspected in a way which breached her privacy as well as insulted her dignity. Every hour, around 18 ladies are assaulted all over India. This figure might change occasionally, yet the crime on women stays dynamic.
The primary question that emerges is, what is the two-finger test? A sexually assaulted female has to undergo some medical examinations for discovering her medical requirements. Two-finger test is one of those tests which is done to check whether the victim has had a sexual intercourse recently. The test incorporates a review of the hymen. Hymen is reviewed as it tends to be torn provided that the lady has had any sort of sexual intercourse. The practice is flawed, both in moral and medical terms. Research has stated various times that the hymen can be torn due to various reasons other than just sexual intercourse. Envision the state of any rape victim, for after being denied of all her pride is assaulted again by such deceptive clinical practice.
Setting up of Justice Verma committee after the 16th December-Nirbhaya rape case for tougher laws meant an end was coming to the Two Finger Test. A report of the commission stated that, "on the basis of this test observations/ conclusions such as ‘habituated to sexual intercourse’ should not be made and this is forbidden by law.” Even though the woman’s virginity status has no role to play while medically examining her, the test continues. While expressing solid disappointment over the two-finger test being led on the survivors of rape, the Supreme Court on 31st October 2022, directed that the people who carry out the test will be held ‘guilty of misconduct.’ “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 court said.
These words by our former President Late Shri Pranab Mukherjee on the eve of International Women’s Day has left a mark on our hearts- “the rights of women to equal opportunities and a dignified life must be respected and the nation has a collective responsibility for creating the ecosystem to ensure their safety and dignity in society.” He highlighted that in our nation, women have always been treated with the utmost respect. Therefore, society as a whole, has a sacred duty to ensure the safety of the women and girls. As a female and a women rights activist, I feel elated to finally hear this direction by the Hon'ble Apex Court. The woman or girl needs to be protected and rehabilitated after such a heinous act. However, the victim would experience these tests as more of a re-rape, violating her right to privacy and affecting her dignity. As a result of successive judicial and legislative decisions, the approach by which the police officers and doctors conduct investigations has indeed changed. These steps being taken by the judiciary brings a ray of hope, a hope of a future where the female gender is treated equally and more importantly, with respect and dignity.
( Author is a Law student at DME Law School, affiliated to GGSIP)