LAHORE   -  The Lahore High Court (LHC) was informed on Friday that Punjab government removed the condition of two-finger test (TFT) for medico-legal examination of sexual assault survivors.

Punjab Additional Advocate General Jawad Yaqoob presented a copy of the notification/revised guidelines issued by the Punjab Specialised Healthcare and Medical Education Department for medico-legal examination of sexual assault survivors in the court.

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

The court had reserved the verdict on November 10 after an Additional Advocate General Punjab assured the court that the condition of TFT would be removed and a notification would be issued soon for the purpose.

The petitions were filed by a PML-N MNA, women rights activists, academics, journalists and advocates.

As per notification/revised guidelines, the medico-legal examination of a female victim should be undertaken only on the judicial order as per Women Protection Act, 2006 and after obtaining written expressed consent of the victim or parents/guardian in case of minor. The examination can only be performed by an authorized women medical officer or board under Section 299-C of the Pakistan Penal Code, it added.

It also noted that victims or guardians had the right to refuse medico-legal examination or collection of evidence or both but their refusal would not be used to deny treatment to the survivor after sexual violence as per the Injured Persons (Medical Aid) Act, 2004.

The guidelines also mentioned other steps that needed to be followed during the medical examination including noting down of bio-data information, history of change of clothes, baths taken etc, besides asking to specify the type of violence and areas of the body injured.

“General physical examination should be done in detail. Particular emphasis should be on apparent age, mental status and development of secondary sex characteristics, besides noting BP, pulse, temperature and respiratory rate,” it added. The notification clearly stated that a two-finger test must not be performed and it had been written in all caps and made bold.

It is also recommended in the guidelines to collect swab samples within 96 hours of the assault.