Supreme Court Takes Strict Action Against ‘Two-Finger Test’ in Rape Cases, Orders Meghalaya Government to Enforce Ban

The Supreme Court of India has taken a firm stand against the controversial ‘two-finger test’ conducted on rape victims, directing the Meghalaya government to ensure a complete ban on the practice. During a recent hearing, the court expressed its disappointment that the test is still being used in rape cases despite its prohibition.

What is the ‘Two-Finger Test’?

The ‘two-finger test’ involves inserting two fingers into the vagina of a rape victim to determine if she is sexually active. This method has been criticized for violating the privacy and dignity of women and is considered scientifically baseless. The test assumes that the presence or absence of a hymen indicates a woman’s sexual activity, a notion widely discredited by medical science.

Ban Imposed in 2013

The Supreme Court initially banned the ‘two-finger test’ in 2013, recognizing it as a violation of a woman’s right to privacy and a form of mental and physical torture. Despite the ban, several states continued the practice, prompting the Ministry of Health to issue guidelines in 2014 declaring the test illegal.

Court’s Remarks

Chief Justice Chandrachud condemned the test, stating that it has always been criticized and lacks any scientific basis. He reiterated that the presence of a hymen is not an indicator of virginity and that such tests are wholly inappropriate. Justices Ravikumar and Rajesh Bindal were reviewing an appeal during which the high court had convicted an individual of rape.

Guidelines for Examining Rape Victims

The court has mandated forensic examinations for rape victims, which must be conducted with their consent. This includes collecting various samples such as clothing, blood, vaginal swabs, pubic hair, sperm, and any signs of injuries. Necessary tests for drugs or intoxicants are also required if suspected.

Legal Consequences for Violating Guidelines

Also Read

Following a detailed discussion, the State Attorney General, Amit Kumar, referenced a 2022 Supreme Court decision stating that anyone performing the ‘two-finger test’ despite its ban would be considered complicit in misconduct. This discussion occurred while addressing the guidelines issued in the Shailendra Kumar Rai aka Pandav Rai case.

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