Delhi government’s controversial advisory to hospitals to not completely ban the per vaginal examination, also known as the two-finger test, of victims of sexual assault has put on hold. “Since there is scope for misinterpretation of the advisory, the chief minister has asked for a review. We would be reviewing the matter in the afternoon today, and if it is required, we will put it on hold for the time being,” said a source in the Delhi government.
“Though the clarification is based on the expert opinion of a team of gynaecologists and forensic medicine specialists, we still plan to involve more doctors and experts for the final review,” said the government source. “The test is not to judge the woman under examination. To do away with this pelvic examination would amount to incomplete assessment of the victim and result in injustice and low conviction rates,” the Delhi government advisory stated.
“Vaginal examination is done in patients who come bleeding or with some discharge, so vaginal examination cannot be completely stopped. It is to treat the patient and save her life and we have been doing it in specific rape cases with the consent of the victim,” said a senior gynaecologist.
Pratidhi, an NGO had filed a request under the Right To Information law with the Delhi health department, and later appealed to the CIC.
Several NGOs and civil society has sought complete ban on the test over the years on the grounds that the procedure is inhumane and more often it is used to judge whether the rape victim is habitual to sexual intercourse.
Union health ministry has framed a new set of guidelines on treating victims of sexual assault the with the help of the Indian Council for Medical Research and Department of Health Research had proposed banning the test.
The Apex Court had in May 2013 pointed out that the test violated a victim’s right to privacy and instructed the government to find better medical procedures to confirm the sexual assault.