New Delhi | Delhi government today clarified that the advisory issued on two-finger test on rape victims was misinterpreted and said it will issue a fresh notification clearly mentioning that this procedure to ascertain sexual assault is banned. Today we held a meeting and we are issuing a fresh notification.
The earlier advisory was misinterpreted. As per the instructions, it is advised that the medical professionals should not perform the two finger test unless it is medically required for only treatment purposes. It cannot be performed for ascertaining sexual assaults. More scientific methods will be adopted for this purpose, Health Minister Satyendra Jain said.
Jain further said that an NGO had met him during AAP government’s previous short stint and had raised the issue following which he had asked them to examine it. Then we were not in power, during which a three-member committee comprising two gynaecologists and a forensic expert was formed last year. The committee had submitted their report on June 2014 in which they had also said that two-finger test on rape victims should not be performed. But then there was some confusion.
The Central Information Commission (CIC) had also asked the Delhi government earlier this year to clarify its instructions in this regard, Jain said after holding a emergency meeting over the matter. The advisory was issued earlier on May 31. Health department has a huge staff and there are about 50 heads of departments who issue circulars. After CIC asked the government to clarify its instructions the advisory was issued on May 31, but it was misinterpreted, he said.
The advisory had drawn severe criticism and even Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal met Jain today to discuss the issue. Delhi government had issued an advisory to its hospitals stating that Per Vaginal (PV) examination, also referred to as ‘two-finger test’, for rape survivors can be conducted with their consent.
The advisory said, To do away with this essential pelvic examination would amount to incomplete assessment of the survivor, which will ultimately result in injustice and low conviction rates. It also mentioned that informed consent of the woman should be taken before conducting the test.
A PV test involves insertion of a finger or two into the rape survivor’s private parts for assessment of internal injuries, use of force if any, noting any discharge and gathering of sample, among others. The two-finger test on sexual assault and rape victims is banned as per the Union Health Ministry’s guidelines. Even the Supreme Court in 2013 had noted that the two finger test violated the right to privacy of the victim.