Bangladesh High Court banned Two-Finger Test on rape victims

A Bangladeshi High Court banned two-finger test which is performed on rape victims. The matter was adjudicated by a two-judge bench comprising Gobinda Chandra Tagore and AKM Shahidul Huq. The petition was pending in the High Court for last five years. It was filed by Bangladesh Legal Aid and Service Trust (BLAST) in 2013. The activists have been insisting to ban this test, as it was irrational and tantamount to a second rape of the victim. In October 2013 High Court questioned the legality and authenticity of the test. It also issued a rule asking the government to explain why the test will not be declared illegal.

The test was ruled out to be derogatory and undignified. It was ordered to send a copy of healthcare protocol to all lower courts for its compliance. There is no legal or scientific basis for the ‘two-finger test’ during the physical examination of women and children rape victims, the court said in its order.

The Court held that lawyers cannot ask any question to rape victims that could hurt their dignity during the trial proceedings.  The Court ordered authorities to strictly adhere to the health care protocol which the government adopted last year in line with the World Health Organisation (WHO) policies.

The health ministry of Bangladesh is asked to form a committee of experts to develop a detailed guideline to provide support to rape victims on examination and treatment and submit the guideline to the court in three months. The ministry has submitted the draft guideline, proposing abolishing the two-finger test.

The two-finger test is used to determine the vaginal laxity of rape victims and to determine whether the victim is habituated to sexual intercourse or not.

In the catena of Indian judgments also it has been reiterated by Indian Courts that two-finger test is not admissible but it is not banned yet.