Bangladesh High Court bans two-finger test

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A High Court in Bangladesh banned the use of two-finger test on rape victims by saying it has no scientific or legal merit on Thursday.

The order settled a 5-year-old petition, the court in his rulings also stated that lawyers cannot ask any questions to rape victims as it could hurt their dignity during the trial proceedings, a spokesperson of the attorney general’s office said.

Authorities are asked to strictly follow the health care protocol which the Govt had adopted last year in line with WHO policies.

The two-judge bench comprising AKM Shahidul Huq and Gobinda Chandra Tagore ruled that the tests have no scientific or evidential value as they cannot prove rape conclusively. They also directed the government to issue a circular so that the lower court judges and investigation officers of rape cases will follow the order.

Rights activists in the country have long been insisting that such test was irrational and tantamount to a second rape of the victim.

The two-finger test or virginity test is used as a standard operating procedure for doctors to check for rape and decide whether the victim is habituated to sexual intercourse. It is also used to determine the nature of the victim’s character for judicial decision during trials.

Bangladesh Legal Aid and Services Trust (BLAST) filed the writ in 2013.

In response, the HC during the same year questioned the legality and authenticity of the test. It also issued a rule asking the government to explain why the test won’t be declared illegal.

The court also asked the health ministry to form a committee of experts to develop a detailed guideline. The ministry has submitted the draft guideline, proposing abolishing the two-finger test.

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