SC Bans Two Finger Test In Rape Cases; Terms It Unscientific & Patriarchal

Nov 1, 2022, 16:31 IST


On Monday, October 31st, the Supreme Court warned again that anyone employing the "two-finger test" to determine guilt in rape cases would be found to have committed misconduct. The bench comprised of Justices DY Chandrachud and Hima Kohli noted that the test was predicated on the patriarchal belief that sexually active women could not be raped, and they expressed their disappointment that this type of testing was still being employed today.
“This court has time and again deprecated the use of two finger test in cases alleging rape and sexual assault. The so called test has no scientific basis. It instead re-victimises and re-traumatises women. The two finger test must not be conducted. The test is based on an incorrect assumption that a sexually active woman cannot be raped. Nothing can be further from the truth. The probative value of a woman's testimony does not depend on her sexual history. It is patriarchal and sexist to suggest that a woman cannot be believed when she states that she was raped merely because she is sexually active”, read the judgment.
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The Bench instructed the Central and State Governments to guarantee that the Department of Health and Family Welfare's guidelines (which prohibit the two-finger test) are disseminated to all Government and private institutions across the country. It also called for a review of medical school curricula to ensure that the two-finger test is not taught as a standard method of assessing sexual assault and rape survivors.

It is noting that in 2018, the UN Human Rights Council, UN Women, and the WHO all urged for the outright elimination of the two-finger test as a means of combating violence against women. In their opinion, it is "medically unnecessary, often unpleasant, humiliating, and traumatising practise [that] must end."