Recently, the Pakistan Supreme Court banned the practice of ‘virginity test’ also known as the ‘two-finger test’ (TFT).TFT is a gynaecological examination conducted to examine whether a woman or girl had vaginal intercourse or not. In most cases, it is practised to check whether the virginity of the rape victim is enacted or not by assessing the elasticity of the vaginal orifice by the insertion of two fingers.Further, this test is has been used by various countries to check the authenticity of rape complaints. The Pakistan Supreme Court, while considering a criminal appeal on rape, took into consideration the legal validity of the virginity test into account. The court in Atif Zareef vs. The State relied upon modern forensic science and Pakistani constitutional law to examine the test’s need and legality. The court also noted that the rape crimes committed are often seen through the patriarchal lens, by questioning the sexual conduct of the survivor. In this particular case, the test was set to dilapidate the moral conduct by questioning the sexual character of the victim. The court also observed the medical language to be patriarchal and ‘riddled with gender biases.’On the constitutionality of ‘sexual history’ determined from the test, the court held that determination of sexual history and dragging it to defy the rape complaint violates Article 4(2)(a) of Pakistan’s Constitution. Article 4(2)(a) holds that “no action detrimental to the life, liberty, body, reputation or property of any person shall be taken except in accordance with the law.” Reliance is also placed upon Article 14 of the Constitution, which talks about an individual’s dignity and makes it inviolable. Previously, the full bench of Federal Shariat Court of Pakistan, while deciding upon Article 151(4) of the Qanun-e-Shahadat order 1984, which provided to show that a rape victim was of a generally immoral character to dilapidate her credibility, held that this provision to be repugnant and inadmissible after Pakistan’s Criminal Law Amendment Act, 2016. Moreover, the Punjab Witness Protection Act, 2018 under Section 12(3) categorically forbids the courts to note questions against the victim on any previous sexual behaviour. The Lahore High Court before the appeal to the Supreme Court also relied upon the judgment of the Indian Supreme Court pronounced in Rajesh & another v. State of Haryana, where it was held that this test violates the rights of a rape victim to privacy, physical and mental integrity, and dignity.It is also pertinent to note that TFT has been seen as a degradation of human dignity and human rights on the international platforms for the unreasonable and unnecessary interference with the woman’s reputation. In 2018, the United Nations (UN) Human Rights, UN Women, and the World Health Organization (WHO), jointly called for a ban on this practice. The UN agencies noted the term ‘virginity is neither scientific nor medical but has evolved through social, cultural, and religious constructs. Article 2(d) and 2(f) of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) prohibits any discriminatory practice against women by public authorities or any other person.Article 7 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) further prohibits any “cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment.” The aim of Article 7 is not to protect the physical integrity but the dignity and mental integrity of the individual. However, apart from being a violation of human rights and dignity, TFT also adversely affects health. The examination in case of rape causes extreme pain and mimic of the crime, leading to trauma and re-victimization.According to the WHO, women in at least 20 counties are subjected to this cruel violation of human rights, including Belgium, the Netherlands, and Britain. In 2018, Afghanistan criminalized TFT through its new penal code, though leverage was left upon the courts’ discretion. However, there is a need for a categorical international sanction on the continuation of TFT on the Pakistan Supreme Court’s lines, which has held that these rights are non-negotiable.
Shuttle BusA Shuttle bus will be available to take local commuters from the A75 bus routes into Castle Douglas to re-join the main line bus service. AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to FacebookFacebookFacebookShare to TwitterTwitterTwitterShare to LinkedInLinkedInLinkedInRoad users are set to benefit from over £75k of resurfacing works on the A75 at The Glen which is located west of Dumfries.Scotland TranServ, on behalf of Transport Scotland, will carry out the resurfacing works from Friday 7 until Monday 10 October 2016.Works will be carried out in both directions, therefore, a total closure will be in place from Garroch Roundabout to West of Springholm from 5.00pm on Friday evening until 06.00am on Monday morning.Andy Fraser, operating company representative, Scotland TranServ said:“This essential maintenance scheme is vital to ensuring we prolong the lifespan of the road surface benefiting almost 5,000 road users using the A75 each day.“We are doing everything we can do minimise disruption by carrying these works out over the weekend, however, we would advise motorists to plan ahead and leave plenty of time for their journeys.”Motorists can keep up to date with real time traffic information by visiting www.trafficscotland.org or following @Traffic Scotland on Twitter. Advanced warning signs will also be in place on the approach to inform motorists that roadworks are taking place.Diversion RouteWest bound – 1st exit at Garroch Roundabout to Cargenbridge Roundabout and take the 2nd exit to join the A711 – Follow the A711 for approximately 12.1 miles then turn right on to Haugh Rd/B794. Continue on the B794 until it re-joins the A75. This is the same in reverse for the eastbound diversion. Scotland TranServScotland TranServ, commenced the fourth generation contract on 1 April 2013 and provides roads maintenance services on behalf of Transport Scotland to 22 routes across south west Scotland spanning over 600km of motorways and other designated trunk road routes; including Erskine and Kingston Bridges.