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Kerala HC upholds amendment, mandates only gynaecologists to examine sexual assault victims

Last Updated on March 20, 2024 by News Desk

Recently, the Kerala high court upheld the amendment rule of Kerala Medico-Legal Protocol for Examination of Survivors of Sexual Offences 2019, mandating gynaecologists to be the sole specialists to conduct the medical examinations of sexual assault survivors. 

Justice Devan Ramachandran disposed of the petition filed by various gynaecologists under Dr Laxmi Rajmohan, challenging the 2023 amendment- clause 6 of Kerala Medico-Legal Protocol for Examination of Survivors of Sexual Offences 2019. 

Previously, the rule provided that any registered medical practitioner falling under Section 53(2)(b) of CrPC could conduct the medical examination of the sexual assault victim. But this rule was changed mandating such examinations to be done by women gynaecologists only. 

The petitioners contended that the provision is “illegal, improper, unsustainable and contrary to the existing national and international guidelines.” 

They submitted that the amendment was passed under a misconception that gynaecologists have some specialised skill or knowledge in forensic science to deal with sexual offences. They claimed that every Indian medical graduate is exposed to all areas of medicine during their studies and is, therefore, competent to examine survivors of sexual assault. 

However, the respondents stated that the provision mandates the examination of only women and girls survivors of vaginal penetrative sexual assault to be conducted by a woman gynaecologist at first instance. They also contended it aims to not only collect the evidence but to provide the best treatment to the survivors. 

The high court, while accepting the respondent’s contentions said, “In the case of a woman or a girl, they’re trying to give the best possible care

Thus, the court dismissed the petition and upheld the amendment. 

Case title- Dr. Laxmy Rajmohan and Ors. v. State of Kerala and ors.

Written by Shagun Behal

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