Dr Indrajit Khandekar, professor of forensic medicine at Mahatma Gandhi Institute of Medical Sciences (MGIMS) in Maharashtra’s Sewagram, has allegedly written to the Medical Council of India (MCI) seeking abolition of the ‘two-finger test’ or the ‘virginity test’ from the medical curriculum.
Dr. Khandekar has contended that the test has no scientific basis and violates human rights. He points out that the test does not provide any conclusive evidence of vaginal intercourse or sexual history. He further states the fact that the procedure puts the examinee through physical and psychological distress.
The test, he says, currently finds a place in all textbooks, without any scientific research or study to evince its scientific suitability. He even professes that the references to the test create a fallacious impression about the process in the minds of doctors, the general public and even the judiciary.
“Innumerable studies have shown the formation of hymen cannot give decisive evidence of vaginal penetration or any sexual history. In fact, abnormal hymenal features such as laceration or an enlarged opening are found in females with or without a history of sexual activity. Still our textbooks pusue to teach future doctors about this unscientific test… ”
…Untill it stays in the syllabus, textbooks will devote chapters on this and students will pursue to learn and possibly practice when asked to do such a test by the police or courts,” he was quoted as saying.
Copies of his report have also been forwarded to the Union Ministry of Health, Ministry of Women and Child Development and Registrar of the Maharashtra University of Health Sciences, Dr. KD Chavhan.
The Supreme Court in Lillu @Rajesh and another v. State of Haryana, had ruled that the two finger test infringe the right of rape survivors to privacy, physical and mental integrity and dignity.
The bench consisting of Justice BS Chauhan and Justice FM Kalifulla had noticee, “Thus, this test, even if the report is affirmative, cannot ipso facto, be given rise to presumption of consent. In view of International Covenant on Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights, 1966; United Nations Declaration of Basic Principles of Justice for Victims of Crime and Abuse of Power, 1985, rape survivors are entitled to legal recourse that does not re-traumatize 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. 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.”
After an year, the Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare had drawn up new rules for treating rape victims and had ordered all hospitals to set up designated rooms for forensic and medical examination of victims. It had also prohibited the two finger test, calling it unscientific.