HC bans ‘two-finger’ test of rape victims
A HC division bench comprising Justice Gobinda Chandra Tagore and Justice A. K. M. Shahidul Huq passed the order following a writ petition filed by six human rights organisations, including Ain O Salish Kendra and Bangladesh Legal Aid and Services Trust (BLAST), in 2013.
In its order, the court said that a close relative of the victim, a gynaecologist, a forensic specialist, a woman police officer and a woman nurse should be present during the physical examination.
The tests for rape victims should follow the health protocols that the government adopted last year (2017), the court said.
The court also said that during the trail of rape case, lawyers from any side could not ask any question that would demean the victim.
Barrister Sara Hossain moved for the writ petitioners in the court while Deputy Attorney General SM Nazmul Huq appeared for the state.
Counsels of the petitioners said many rape victims do not want to go for medical tests because of the traditional ‘two-finger’ method. This system prevents many rape victims from getting justice, they observed.
Bangladesh Legal Aid and Services Trust (BLAST), Ain O Salish Kendra, Bangladesh Mahila Parishad, BRAC, Manusher Jonno Foundation, Naripokkho and Dr Ruchira Tabassum and Dr Mobarak Hossain Khan filed the writ petition on October 8, 2013.
The court came up with the verdict today after completion of the final hearing on the rule issued over the writ.
Experts say the ‘two-finger’ test or Per Vaginal Test is done on a rape victim. In this test, two fingers of an adult (doctor who conducts the medical examination of the rape victim) are inserted into the vagina of a female.
If the two fingers of the doctor easily penetrate the vagina of a woman, then it is concluded that the rape victim is habitual of having sexual intercourse and vice versa is concluded if the two fingers do not penetrate, or penetrate with difficulty.
This test is also done to determine the extent of damage caused to the genitalia of a woman.