iconimg Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Puja Changoiwala and Debasish Panigrahi, Hindustan Times
Mumbai, January 16, 2013
It is insensitive. It fractures the psyche of a rape victim, but the two-finger test still holds ground as a clinical method to ascertain if a rape victim had previous sexual encounters.
Former policemen and lawyers are demanding that the technique be done away with. 

Dr PS Pasricha, former police commissioner, said the two-finger test added to the trauma of a victim. “In most cases, the doctors who conduct these tests are males. The women are afraid and any male touching them again fractures their psyche further,” he said.

“The test does not provide for authentic evidence. It only checks if the hymen is intact, which can rupture for several reasons,” he added.

According to criminal lawyer Majid Memon, with sophisticated and developed medical tools available today, there is no reason to continue “such a humiliating and derogatory practice”.

“We should stop this method and ensure that any investigative step in a criminal investigation should not be affecting or further damaging the dignity of a woman,” he said.

Lawyer Satish Maneshinde said rape determination tests can be conducted using more scientific methods.

Former Mumbai police commissioner MN Singh, while quoting an SC judgement, said a conclusive medical report was not necessary to prove rape.

“DNA profiling of the semen sample of the accused, marks of resistance found on the victim as well as the accused’s body and statements of witnesses are enough to prove rape,” he said.

YP Singh, IPS officer-turned-lawyer, said though there was no law that prescribed what medical tests should be done, “the evidence act says opinion of experts (doctors) has to be sought. And since the doctor is subject to cross-examination, he would not take chances but follow the forensic medical code.”

“Hence, the medical code should be overhauled,” he said.