LHC declares two-finger, hymen tests illegal

LAHORE (APP): The Lahore High Court (LHC) on Monday declared two-finger and hymen tests for medico-legal examination of sexual assault survivors illegal after declaring them unconstitutional.

Justice Ayesha A Malik had on November 10 reserved the verdict on petitions challenging two-finger test for examination of sexual assault survivors for being disrespectful, inhuman and violative of fundamental rights of the women.

However, Justice Faisal Zaman Khan announced the verdict in open court today as Justice Ayesha A Malik was on ex-Pakistan leave.

In a 30-page judgement, Justice Ayesha A Malik held that the test did not have any forensic value in cases of sexual assault and it offended the personal dignity of the female victim, which was guaranteed under Articles 9 and 14 of the Constitution.

“It is also declared that virginity tests are discriminatory against the female victim as they are carried out on the basis of their gender, therefore, offends Article 25 of the Constitution, the judgement added.

“Consequently to the extent that the 2020 guidelines, SOPs, and the 2015 instructions that mandate the two-finger test or the hymen test for the purposes of ascertaining the virginity of the victim have been declared illegal and against the Constitution,” the judgment read.

The court directed federation and provincial government for taking necessary steps to ensure that virginity tests were not carried out in medico legal examination of the victims of rape and sexual abuse.

The judgement also directed provincial government to devise appropriate medico-legal protocols and guidelines, along with standard operating procedures, in line with international practice that recognize and manage sensitively the care of victims of sexual violence.

“This includes regular training and awareness programs so that all stakeholders understand that virginity tests have no clinical or forensic value,” it added.

It is pertinent to mention here that the petitions were filed by a PML-N MNA , women rights activists, academics, journalists and advocates.