The Delhi High court in India has declared a virginity test conducted on a Catholic nun as part of a probe into a murder case as “unconstitutional.”
“The virginity test conducted on a female detainee, accused under investigation, or in custody, whether judicial or police, is declared unconstitutional and in violation of Article 21 of the Constitution which includes right to dignity,” a single bench of Justice Swarana Kanti Sharma said on February 7.
The petitioner, Sister Sephy, was convicted in the murder of Sister Abhaya, a 19-year-old junior nun on March 27, 1992. He had moved the case to the High Court in 2009, challenging the Central Bureau of Investigation for subjecting her to the virginity test during the probe a year earlier.
The young nun’s body was found in the well of St. Pius Convent in Kerala’s Kottayam town and some Church officials termed her death as a case of suicide.
The Delhi court, however, has refused to grant her relief such as compensation and action against the officials for subjecting her to the illegal test.
The Delhi court’s verdict that came 15 years after the nun filed the petition said, “Virginity testing is a form of inhuman treatment and the same violates the principle of human dignity.”
“The test, being violative of right to dignity of an individual, cannot be resorted to by the state and the same shall be in teeth of the scheme of Indian Constitution and the right to life enshrined under Article 21,” it asserted.
Sister Sephy had also questioned the CBI for subjecting her to the test 16 years after the alleged crime had taken place and the need for virginity test to prove a murder case.
“Most shockingly, in the present case the virginity test was used to determine the truth of the accusation of murder against the petitioner,” the Delhi court said.
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