SC orders ban on “two-finger test” in rape cases

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The “two-finger test” will no longer be allowed in rape trials, the Supreme Court ruled on Monday, and any who still use it will be found guilty of misconduct. The two-finger test is an unethical and invasive physical examination in which two fingers are inserted into a woman’s vagina to gauge the suppleness of her vaginal muscles and ascertain her “virginity.”

While delivering judgement restoring a conviction in a rape-murder case, Justice Chandrachud on Monday said, “Evidence of a victim’s sexual history not material to case. It is regrettable that it continues to be conducted even today”.

Supreme Court warned that persons conducting the test in rape cases will be held guilty of misconduct and ordered removal of two-finger test from study materials in medical colleges saying the “unscientific invasive method of examining rape survivor retraumatises sexually assaulted woman”.

The apex court overturned the acquittal order of a High Court and sentenced the man to life imprisonment in the rape-murder case that was being heard.

The Supreme Court had deemed the practice unconstitutional in 2013 and held that the test should not be performed.

The two-finger test is an unscientific and regressive procedure that involves the insertion of two fingers into a person’s vagina to gauge the laxity of vaginal muscles, thereby determining her ‘virginity’. It is based on the patriarchal assumption that a woman who is sexually active is less likely to have been sexually assaulted; several judgments and research have shown that a person’s sexual history have no bearing on sexual assault.

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