Two-Finger Test For Rape Followed A 1920 Book, Which Has Just Been Revised

03/06/2016 4:22 PM IST | Updated 15/07/2016 8:27 AM IST
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A woman attends a peace protest in Ahmedabad on March 20, 2015, in the wake of the gang-rape on an elderly nun. An Indian state government, West Bengal, was under pressure over the rape of an elderly nun said March 18 it was handing over the case to the country's top investigators after coming under fire over the lack of arrests. AFP PHOTO / Sam PANTHAKY (Photo credit should read SAM PANTHAKY/AFP/Getty Images)

In 2013, the two-finger test that was mandatory to ascertain rape, was banned by the Supreme Court. "Undoubtedly, the two-finger test and its interpretation violates the right of rape survivors to privacy, physical and mental integrity and dignity. Thus, this test, even if the report is affirmative, cannot ipso facto, be given rise to presumption of consent," a bench of Justices B.S.Chauhan and F.M.I.Kalifulla said while banning it.

A textbook, written and published in 1920, which shaped forensic investigation in rape cases in India, has now dropped the two-finger test from its content.

"The 25th edition of Modi A Textbook of Medical Jurisprudence and Toxicology — first published in 1920 by Dr. Jaising Modi, a professor of medical jurisprudence in Agra — also introduces changes to make both doctors and the judiciary sensitive to rape cases," The Hindu reports.

The new sections included in the book suggest that doctors' priority should be treating a victim or survivor, before aiding the probe. It also says that rape survivors should be treated with sensitivity, especially when one is dealing with people of alternative sexualities or sex workers.

The passage now reads: "“The healthcare providers have a dual responsibility to the rape survivor. The first is to provide the survivor with medical and psychological treatment and care, while the second is to assist the victim in medico-legal proceedings.”

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