'Rape victim's sexual history not relevant' | mumbai | Hindustan Times
Today in New Delhi, India
Dec 09, 2016-Friday
-°C
New Delhi
  • Humidity
    -
  • Wind
    -

'Rape victim's sexual history not relevant'

mumbai Updated: Oct 13, 2011 01:28 IST
Menaka Rao
Menaka Rao
Hindustan Times
Highlight Story

In a significant move, the state government has directed government doctors who conduct medical examinations of rape victims to do away with the practice of noting whether the victim is habituated to sexual intercourse.

The move is aimed at extending sensitive treatment to victims of rape and sexual assault and will be reflected in the manual referred to by doctors while examining victims.

An eight-member state-appointed committee headed by Dr SD Nanandkar, head of forensic medicine department, JJ Hospital, revised the manual after considering suggestions given by the non-governmental organisation, Centre for Enquiry into Health and Allied Themes (CEHAT). The directive is part of other modifications to the manual finalised at meetings held by the committee. The committee also provided a detailed chart on why they did not accept some of the suggestions.

The committee was appointed by the Directorate of Health Services (DHS) on directions passed by the Nagpur bench of the Bombay high court in a public interest litigation filed by advocate Vijay Patiat and social worker, Dr Ranjana Pardhi.

The revised manual states, "It has been observed that most examining doctors write their opinion in their medico-legal report to the effect that she [the victim] is habituated to sexual intercourse [or not]. It must be remembered that this opinion has no relevance at all whatsoever to the offence."

The committee cited a 2005 judgment of the Supreme Court in relation to a case from Uttar Pradesh where the court stated that the victim being "accustomed to sexual intercourse is not a determinative question. Even if it is hypothetically accepted that victim has lost virginity earlier, it need not and cannot in law, give licence to any person to rape her." A few more procedural aspects related to age determination of the victim, among others have been added.

Maharashtra is the first state in the country to make forensic examination of sexual assault victims more victim-friendly. Apart from the sensitising doctors conducting the procedure, the committee has drawn seven detailed proformas and formats to be followed by medical officers examining the victim and the accused.