A sessions court that convicted four accused for the gang rape of a telephone operator last week has strongly reprimanded JJ Hospital for conducting the “unscientific archaic two-finger test” during the survivor’s medical examination.
Principal judge Shalini Phansalkar-Joshi said, “The Maharashtra government had come out with new guidelines and protocols on May 10 last year. These new guidelines and protocols have done away with unscientific and heavily criticized two-finger tests. The need is for the proper implementation of these guidelines.” The survivor had undergone the examination in September last year.
The observations were made in a 192-page judgment, copies of which were furnished to the prosecution and defence on Monday. The judge cited a Supreme Court judgment that had condemned the test and said, “Medical procedures should not be carried out in a manner that constitutes cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment and health should be of paramount consideration while dealing with gender-based violence. Undoubtedly, the two-finger test and its interpretation violate the right of rape survivors to privacy, physical and mental integrity and dignity.”
The court also criticized the manner in which the test identification parade (TIP) of the convicts was conducted. “Asking the rape victim to identify the suspect face to face by pointing a finger at him totally overlooks the mental trauma of the victim. One can imagine the situation where the victim is brought face to face with the rapist to identify him, that too within a few days of having faced tremendous trauma in a brutal incident,” the judge said. She further pointed out that it was necessary to conduct the TIP by video link to avoid the woman’s trauma.
The court also rubbished the defence argument that the entire case was concocted by the police while giving into pressure from media and their seniors.
Appreciating the efforts made by the survivor and her male friend who had witnessed the incident, the court said, “Why will the prosecutrix (survivor) implicate the accused falsely? If despite all odds they have come forward to support their case, then it is a guarantee of truthfulness.”
“They must be aware that lodging of such a complaint will inevitably result in mental torture and suffering. Several questions were likely to be raised and are actually raised as to why they went to that place in the night alone. Hence, it is thoroughly outlandish to advance the arguments that this case is concocted,” the court said.
The court further said the sole testimony of the woman “ITSELF” is sufficient to clinch the accused guilt and was supported by the evidence of her mother and companion. The court further stated that one must appreciate the way the fiance had extended his support.