‘Abolish finger test for rape victims’ | mumbai | Hindustan Times
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‘Abolish finger test for rape victims’

Abolish the degrading finger test that rape victims have to undergo, a state-appointed committee, headed by retired justice CS Dharmadhikari, has recommended in its interim report. Kanchan Chaudhari reports.

mumbai Updated: Jan 29, 2013 02:15 IST
Kanchan Chaudhari

Abolish the degrading finger test that rape victims have to undergo, a state-appointed committee, headed by retired justice CS Dharmadhikari, has recommended in its interim report.

Additional government pleader Geeta Shastry on Monday submitted copies of the report to Bombay high court at the hearing of a PIL filed by NGO, Help Mumbai Foundation.

The Dharmadhikari committee was set up by the state in 2010 to examine, among other things, the need to amend several sections of the Indian Penal Code pertaining to molestation.

In its interim report, the committee has suggested that the state immediately adopt the new process for examining rape victims.

The Union health ministry put in place a new procedure for physical examination of a rape victim after the National Women’s Commission complained that the current practice of conducting the finger test was humiliating, the interim report said.

The committee said the current procedure is “degrading and medically and scientifically irrelevant”. In the finger test, the doctor inserts two fingers into the woman’s vagina to test vaginal laxity, which is meant to determine whether the victim is accustomed to sexual intercourse.

Apart from recommending amendments in the Criminal Procedure Code to make offences related to molestation and sexual assault non-bailable - as suggested by high court during hearing on suo motu proceedings based on an HT report about harassment women commuters in the city face – the Dharmadhikari committee also said there was an urgent need to outline immediate and effective measures to prevent the exploitation of women involved in surrogacy.

It suggested that the state should consider changes in the law to make it difficult for those involved in offences against women to get bail. For instance, it recommends that a culprit not be granted bail unless a woman unrelated to them stands surety for them.

Help Mumbai Foundation had filed the PIL highlighting the harassment faced by more than 20 lakh women train commuters and their feeling of insecurity because of the rise in crime against women in the city.