Delhi Government Does U-Turn on ‘Two-Finger’ Test

Delhi's Health Minister Satyendra Jain. Credit: Wikimedia Commons

Delhi’s Health Minister Satyendra Jain. Credit: Wikimedia Commons

Just days after issuing a circular to hospitals asking them to employ the non-legal ‘two-finger test’ on victims of rape and sexual assault, the Delhi government has retracted the notifications after facing severe criticism.

“Now two finger test is completely banned for sexual assault victims in Delhi. We are issuing a new notification in this connection today,” Delhi Health Minister Satyendra Jain said, adding that the 14-page circular was misinterpreted.

A circular was issued to hospitals on May 29 stating that Per Vaginal (PV) examination, also referred to as ‘two-finger test’, for rape survivors can be conducted with their consent. The test involves insertion of fingers in the survivors private regions to determine internal injuries, damages to the hymen, and discharges. The test is however considered archaic, and has little or no scientific backing.

Social activists have for long demanded a complete ban on the ‘two-finger test’ claiming it was demeaning and insulting, and was subjecting the survivor to further distress. A Supreme Court ruling in May 2013 also held that the test violates a survivor’s right to privacy and had asked the government to look for better medical procedures to confirm sexual assault.

Distancing himself from the circular, Jain said that the advisory was issued on the basis of an expert committee. The committee had been formed under the previous government in March 2014.

With inputs from agencies.