New Delhi, June 6: Delhi Government was today forced to issue a fresh advisory to all hospitals in the city prohibiting the 'two-finger' test on rape victims to ascertain sexual assault after a previous circular allowing the controversial procedure drew sharp attack.
In its new advisory, the Health Department said medical professionals should not perform the 'finger test' on victims and survivors of sexual assualt while insisting that its earlier directive was misinterpretated.
"It is now clarified and further reiterated that medical professionals should not perform the 'finger test' for ascertaining the habituation of the sexual assault victim/survivor to sexual intercourse.
"All hospital authorities in national Capital Territory of Delhi are advised to properly adhere to the same," the 'clarificatory advisory' to Medical Superintendants of all hospitals and all Heads of Departments of Gynaecology departments in the city said.
The government had come under attack over its earlier advisory permitting conduct of 'two-finger' test on rape victims. The Delhi government had on May 29 issued an advisory to its hospitals stating that Per Vaginal (PV) examination, also referred to as 'two-finger test', for rape survivors can be conducted with their consent.
The notification provoked strong reaction from Congress and the BJP. The previous advisory had said, "To do away with this essential pelvic examination would amount to incomplete assessment of the survivor, which will ultimately result in injustice and low conviction rates."
It said "informed consent" of the victim should be taken before conducting the test. A PV test involves insertion of a finger or two into the rape survivor's private parts for assessment of internal injuries, use of force if any, noting any discharge and gathering of sample, among others.
The two-finger test on victims of sexual assault and rape is banned as per the Union Health Ministry's guidelines. Even the Supreme Court had in 2013 noted that the test violated the victim's right to privacy.