NMC to modify MBBS curriculum to address issues on Virginity Tests, Two finger Tests

Published On 2022-07-06 11:43 GMT   |   Update On 2022-07-06 11:43 GMT

New Delhi: Introducing a major change, the apex medical regulator, National Medical Commission (NMC) has decided to teach the MBBS students about the unscientific, inhumane and discriminatory sides of virginity tests and two finger tests of female genitalia.  NMC, the Apex medical body, has also decided teaching medical students how to guide the courts, which often orders it...

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New Delhi: Introducing a major change, the apex medical regulator, National Medical Commission (NMC) has decided to teach the MBBS students about the unscientific, inhumane and discriminatory sides of virginity tests and two finger tests of female genitalia.  

NMC, the Apex medical body, has also decided teaching medical students how to guide the courts, which often orders it in matrimonial suits, about the unscientific nature of the signs of virginity and the related tests.

Such a decision has been taken by NMC on the basis of the recommendations of the Expert panel set up by Aruna Vanikar (President of UG Medical Education Board -UGMEB) of NMC on the orders of Madras High Court to address the issues about LGBTQIA+ community in the MBBS curriculum. However, the issue of virginity was added in the domain of the expert panel on the request made by Dr Indrajit Khandekar, Professor of Forensic Medicine & Toxicology of Mahatma Gandhi Institute of Medical Sciences (MGIMS), Sevagram- Wardha.

Dr. Khandekar was a member of the expert panel. Apart from him, the other members of the panel include Dr Vijendra Kumar, Member-UGMEB; Dr Prabha Chandra, Senior Professor, Psychiatry, NIMHANS, and Dr Surekha Kishore, Executive Director, AIIMS, Gorakhpur.

"Virginity test has been ordered by the courts across the country in various matrimonial disputes like nullity of marriage and impotence. On court orders, to opine whether the girl is virgin or not; doctors examine girls' hymen for hymenal opening size or tears and also insert fingers into the vagina to assess the vaginal laxity. However, as at present the doctors are not taught to explain to courts that all these so-called signs of virginity (i.e., virginity test) do not have any scientific basis and there is no scientific sign or test that can help anyone to conclude whether the girl is virgin or not. Therefore, doctors keep on doing such examination on court orders and such practices keep on leading miscarriage of justice," mentioned a release from Dr. Khandekar.

Dr. Khandekar had been actively pointing out the unscientific basis of the "virginity test". Medical Dialogues had reported back in 2018 that he had prepared a detailed report highlighting the reasons for removing "virginity test" from the MBBS syllabus and how it violates human rights and leads to gender discrimination.

Also Read: Drop Virginity Test From MBBS Syllabus: Medical Council Of India Told

At that time, he had submitted the report to the erstwhile Medical Council of India (MCI), which has now been replaced by NMC. The report had been submitted to the Union Health Ministry, women and child development, and the Registrar of Maharashtra University of Health Sciences (MUHS).

In his report, Dr. Khandekar had stressed upon the fact that the "virginity test" is not a useful clinical tool and can be physical, psychologically and socially distressing for the examinee. As per the report, the test cannot give decisive evidence of vaginal intercourse or any other sexual history. 

Back then, Dr. Khandekar had pointed out that due to the inclusion of the test in the medical syllabus of the MCI, almost all the textbooks of forensic medicine, that are part of the MBBS course, include its details, signs and medico-legal aspects. Some textbooks even give details about "false virgin" and "true virgin", he had mentioned, adding that none of them quote any scientific literature or study to support their statements.

Referring to the fact that none of those textbooks had laid down anything for virginity test for males, Dr. Khandekar had opined that the "virginity test" should be removed immediately from the MBBS curriculum.
Previously, back in 2013, the top court had held that the two finger test violated a woman's right to privacy. It was banned and the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) issued new guidelines in 2014.
However, this is the first time in the history of medical education that medical graduates will be taught to appraise courts about unscientific basis of any test/ signs if court orders so.
"Previously medical students were taught about the medico legal significance of virginity but now this has been removed from the medical course. Henceforth medical students across the country will be taught about the unscientific basis of signs of virginity," added Dr. Khandekar.
"Our Indian courts are also unaware about the unscientific basis of signs of virginity and its test. Therefore, it is necessary to train our medical students/ doctors to appraise the courts about the same. This will help to clear the issue and slowly Indian courts will stop ordering virginity tests. I think this will be a historical change," he mentioned.
"There is no scientific way by which one can know whether the girl is virgin or not, similar to a male, whose 'signs of virginity' was never mentioned in any medical book till date. No one has any right to know whether the other person is a virgin or not," he further added.
This is not the first time that the NMC Expert Panel has taken such a groundbreaking decision. Medical Dialogues had earlier reported that this panel, of which Dr. Khandekar is a member, had recommended removing "unnatural" word from the classification of sexual activities like sodomy, buccal coitus, lesbianism from the subject of Forensic Medicine & Toxicology of MBBS course, in an attempt to make LGBTQIA+ friendly MBBS curriculum.
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