Marking an important progressive step, the Supreme Court of India on Monday has prohibited the use of the inhumane ‘two-finger test’ in cases of rape and sexual assaults.
Stating it was ‘regrettable’ that such practice continued, the Supreme Court bench of Justice DY Chandrachud and Justice Hima Kohli observed that,
“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.”
The bench opined that the test re-victimizes and re-traumatizes the women, the court has warned that, “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.”
The bench made these observations while restoring conviction in a rape case while condemning the practice to be ‘patriarchal’ and ‘sexist’.
“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 bench has ordered the union government and state governments to ensure that guidelines laid down by the Department of Health and Family Welfare are implemented in government and private hospitals.
Advocate Vrinda Grover, explaining the use of the term “misconduct” has commented,
“All doctors are governed by a code of conduct and the use of the two-finger test is now to be added to the list of misconduct. There will be consequences that follow if any doctor uses the two-finger test and lists it in the medical report, the MLC that is prepared for the rape victim/survivor,” said Grover.