PILIBHIT: Rape survivors in UP’s Pilibhit district are compelled to face medical examination by a male doctor since women doctors are not available at the district women’s hospital. A staggering 70 out of 79 rape survivors, including 5 minors brought to the hospital, declined medical examination by a male gynaecologist in the period between June 1 & September 28 this year, TOI has learnt.
Officials say that this situation emerged after the female medical superintendent of the hospital, Dr Anita Chaurasia, retired on March 1 and another gynecologist, Dr Kamla Mishra, retired on May 31. Now, the women’s hospital is being managed by a male medical superintendent, Dr Rajesh Kumar, and a male gynecologist, Dr KK Bhatt.
TOI traced some of the survivors and asked them why they refused the test and if they were aware of the consequences. The mother of a minor survivor said, “How could we allow the medical examination of our daughter by a man? Would it not be akin to another assault on her?” The 16-year-old girl had been abducted from the doorstep of her house in June by a man who raped her in an orchard and left her in an unconscious condition. When she was brought to the district women’s hospital for examination, her parents refused and instead brought her home.
On the adverse legal repercussions during the court trial due to absence of the medical tests report, she said that she had no knowledge of it. Legal experts say that not giving a rape survivor the option of being examined by a woman doctor is “not only a violation of law, but also of the survivor’s constitutional right to privacy.”
Prayagraj-based senior lawyer, Madhu Ranjan Pandey, said the provisions of CrPC safeguard rape survivors by imposing “compulsion of their medical examination only by female medical officers”. Referring to section 164-A along with section 53 (sub section 2), Pandey said, “In case a rape victim has no option, it will be deemed as a violation of the law.” Another lawyer stated section 27 of the Pocso Act says that a rape victim — below 18 years — should be examined only by a lady doctor. Supreme Court lawyer, Shraddha Saxena, added that “medical tests under forced conditions was an open violation of constitutional right to privacy,” and referred to Articles 14 and 21 of the Constitution. On the repercussions that a survivor’s refusal to have a medical examination might have on her case, Ashwini Agnihotri, counsel to one of the survivors who refused to be examined by a male doctor, said, “Sexual assault crimes usually do not involve any witness. In such a situation, the medical examination report of the survivor is deemed as the only evidence of the assault on her during the court trial. The survivor’s aversion from medical examination due to the presence of a male medical officer may therefore directly impact the case which might even lead to the acquittal of the accused.” Notably, none of the survivors or their kin whom TOI spoke to, were made aware by cops that their refusal could weaken their case. Asked about it, Pilibhit SP Atul Sharma said, “It is not in my notice that a majority of rape victims declined medical exam by a male doctor. I will look into the matter.”

Source link

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *