LAHORE: The Lahore High Court on Tuesday reserved judgment in two public interest petitions challenging an old practice called two-finger test (TFT) for examination of sexual assault survivors for being disrespectful, inhuman and violative of fundamental rights of the women.
Before closing the hearing, Justice Ayesha A. Malik expressed her displeasure over the Punjab government’s slackness towards legislation to abolish the test. The judge noted that the government, despite an undertaking, failed to present a proposed draft of the legislation.
Additional Advocate General Jawad Yaqoob told the court that a meeting of a sub-committee of the provincial cabinet was held on the issue. However, Justice Malik declared the provincial government’s response unsatisfactory. She observed that the federal government had also undertaken to bring legislation on the issue.
The petitioners’ counsel argued that the court had the jurisdiction to order the legislature for a legislation on a particular issue. Justice Malik concluded the proceedings and reserved the verdict.
In this case, the provincial health authorities had previously told the court that the TFT had limited evidential value and would be abolished from the protocol of medico-legal certificate (MLC) unless necessitated. The government maintained that the TFT should not be performed unless where it deems necessary to be performed in good faith for determination of injuries and disease.
The petitions were filed by PML-N MNA Shaista Pervez Malik and women rights activists, academics, journalists and advocates. They include Sadaf Aziz, Farida Shaheed, Farieha Aziz, Farah Zia, Sarah Zaman, Maliha Zia Lari, Dr Aisha Babar and Zainab Husain.
Advocate Sahar Zareen Bandial and Barrister Sameer Khosa represented the petitioners.
Published in Dawn, November 11th, 2020