2-finger test on rape victim and controversy: All you need to know

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Arvind Kejriwal-led AAP Government in Delhi has landed into yet another unnecessary controversy after it issued an advisory over controversial two-finger test on rape victims. 

Here is all you need to know about the controversy around it:

2-finger test and controversy: Explained

What is two-finger test

  • A Per Vaginal (PV) examination, also referred to as 'two-finger test' is a test which involves insertion of a finger or two into the rape survivor's private parts for assessment of internal injuries.
  • With the help of this they gather sample, note any discharge, among other things.
  • The two-finger test on sexual assault and rape victims is banned as per the Union Health Ministry's guidelines.
  • This testing is very controversial, both because of its implications for tested girls and women and because it is viewed as unethical.

What is the recent controversy over it

  • The two-finger test on sexual assault and rape victims is banned as per the Union Health Ministry's guidelines.
  • MHA banned it last year after the Supreme Court held in 2013 that it violates a woman's right to privacy.
  • But despite Centre's ban, the Delhi government gave nod to hospitals to conduct the 'two-finger test' on a rape victim after the victim's consent.
  • However, shortly after the news became public, CM Arvind Kejriwal and his government received flak for the same.

What Kejriwal Govt said

  • The Delhi government had issued a circular on May 31 and advised that the medical professionals should not perform the two finger test unless it is medically required for only treatment purposes.
  • "It cannot be performed for ascertaining sexual assaults. More scientific methods will be adopted for this purpose," Health Minister Satyendra Jain said.
  • The advisory 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."
  • Now, the government is backpedaling as reports now suggest that the circular will be withdrawn and action will be taken against those who signed it.
  • The Delhi govt has now clarified that the advisory issued on two-finger test on rape victims was "misinterpreted" and said it will issue a fresh notification clearly mentioning that this procedure to ascertain sexual assault is banned.
  • The Union government had banned the test last year, after the Supreme Court held in 2013 that it violates a woman's right to privacy.

What did the Supreme Court say on the controversial test

The Supreme Court had in 2013 held that the two-finger test on a rape victim violates her right to privacy, and asked the government to provide better medical procedures to confirm sexual assault.

A bench of Justices B.S. Chauhan and F.M.I. Kalifulla had said even if the report of the two-finger test is affirmative, it cannot give rise to presumption of consent on part of a rape victim.

"Undoubtedly, the two-finger test and its interpretation violates the right of rape survivors to privacy, physical and mental integrity and dignity. Thus, this test, even if the report is affirmative, cannot ipso facto, be given rise to presumption of consent," the bench said.

"Medical procedures should not be carried out in a manner that constitutes cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment and health should be of paramount consideration while dealing with gender-based violence.

"The State is under an obligation to make such services available to survivors of sexual violence. Proper measures should be taken to ensure their safety and there should be no arbitrary or unlawful interference with her privacy," the bench said.

Keeping in mind the International Covenant on Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights 1966 and the UN Declaration of Basic Principles of Justice for Victims of Crime and Abuse of Power 1985, the apex court said, rape survivors are entitled to legal recourse that does not re-traumatise them or violate their physical or mental integrity and dignity.

"They are also entitled to medical procedures conducted in a manner that respects their right to consent," it said.

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