In the first detailed manual for medical examination of rape victims, the Health Ministry has advised doctors not to use the word rape as it is “not a medical diagnosis but a legal definition”.

It has also asked them not to identify a victim as “habituated to sexual intercourse” as this amounts to unlawful interference in her privacy and therefore a violation of her human rights. “Rape is not a medical diagnosis, it is legal definition. Hence word “rape” should not be used while forwarding opinion… Even he/she should not depose on the same issue. Do not identify victim as “habituated to sexual intercourse” on the basis of findings of finger test as (it) is unlawful interference with her privacy and unlawful attacks on her honour and reputation and is violation of her human rights,” says the manual.

It will also mentions that in the prosecution proceedings for sexual assaults, prior sexual experience is irrelevant as the issue at hand is consent or lack of it. The manual also forbids the use of the two-finger test on the same ground.

This is the first time the Department of Health Research has attempted to draw up a comprehensive manual for examination of victims of sexual crimes in consultation with experts and framed guidelines on what the conclusions should be for a given set of observations.

It has now invited public comments on the draft.