Law Ministry Terms Two-Finger Test For Rape Victims ‘Inconclusive’
Ministry of Law and Justice in a press release on Friday has announced that the government stands against the controversial two finger test (also referred to as ‘virginity test’) for survivors of rape and sexual assault. The Ministry gave instructions to the Additional Attorney-General Ch. Ishtiaq Ahmed Khan that the two-finger test is inconclusive and against Article 14 of the Constitution which prescribes all citizens the fundamental right of dignity. These comments from the Ministry were in response to a writ petition pending in the Lahore High Court within which a declaration is sought that the two-finger test in relation to rape or sexual assault cases is unconstitutional.
According to the press release previously, Article 151(4) of the Qanoon-e-Shahadat Order, 1984 allowed the accused to challenge the character of a victim of rape or sexual assault, as a defense. This article of the Qanoon-e-Shahdat Order had been omitted through section 16 of Act No.XLIV of 2016. The reason of the omission was that the two-finger test and the manner in which it is carried out, which amounts to challenging the character of a rape or sexual assault victim, cannot be permitted.
The press release makes further references to the World Health Organization statement and other cases and material from foreign jurisdictions. Citing all past case law and the statutory amendment of 2016, the ministry declared the value of the two-finger test to be highly suspect.