Rationale of “Potency Test” as Performed on Alleged Accused of Sexual Offences in Age Old Forensic Practice- A Study
Keywords:Criminal Law Amendment Act, potency, rape, multi-disciplinary approach, fundamental rights
Background: Following the amendment in Sec 375 IPC as per Criminal Law Amendment Act 2013, potency
is not at all essential to commit rape and so even an impotent man can rape a woman. Even after the change in
definition of rape and laws related to it in 2013, still the same age old question of potency is repeating in every
requisition seeking medical examination of alleged accused of sexual offence. Investigating police officers
ask for potency test of the alleged accused persons irrespective of the type of sex offence committed by the
persons. MoreoverMedical examination report of the alleged accused is often labelled as the ‘‘POTENCY
TEST REPORT” in the Court of Law disregarding all other findings. Method: Diagnosis of impotence is
a multi-disciplinary approach. The aim of the study is to discuss the rationale of potency test in relation to
sexual assault cases in light of CLAA (2013) and current practice followed in many Institutions.76 Alleged
accused of various sexual offence cases are studied here concerning the history of sexual offence, self
claim of potency and duration between alleged incident and medicolegal examination. Conclusion: There is
absolutely no necessity of potency test if there is no history of peno-vaginal intercourse and if the accused
is not claiming himself to be impotent. Integrated approach between doctors and law enforcing agencies is
essential to channelize the investigation in a more scientific way.
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