On June 14, 2012, the West Bengal police arrested 27-year-old Indian track athlete Pinki Pramanik after the West Bengal police received a complaint from her live-in partner, 30-year-old Anamika Acharya.
Anamika alleged that Pinki being a man had raped her.
The following day the court turned down Pinki’s bail plea and remanded her to a 14-day judicial custody and lodged her in the Dumdum correctional home.
Next the police took the sprinter to a private nursing home in North 24 Parganas district for medical tests to determine her gender. Subsequently, a 29-second MMS went viral online showing the athlete naked and undergoing tests at the nursing home.
The tests conducted at the district hospital were inconclusive. Initial private tests claimed to show Pinki to be male. She disagreed with these results, and police ordered a separate government-led test as part of the trial. The Court then directed a chromosome pattern test (Karyotyping) to be conducted at the West Bengal University of Technology.
On July 10, 2012, the 11-member medical board of Seth Sukhlal Karnani Memorial Hospital (SSKM Government Hospital) in Kolkata, formed to determine the gender of Pinki Pramanik, after studying the reports of the Karyotyping concluded that Pramanik has 46, XY Karyotype which is common in a normal male. This came on a day a local court in Barasat granted Pramanik bail in the rape case.
A member of the medical board, who did not want to be named, told The Indian Express, “Normal Karyotypes for females contain two X chromosomes and are denoted as 46, XX. Males have an X and a Y chromosome and are denoted 46, XY. Test reports revealed that Pramanik has predominantly male features. The test reports, along with our observations, have been submitted to the court.”
“At the same time, Pramanik has the disorder of sexual development. In medical science, not everything can be said in black and white. This case has shades of gray. Pramanik does not have all the features that a normal adult male has,” the doctor said. When asked if such a person can rape someone, he said that it was “very difficult” to tell.
However, Tuhin Roy, Pinki’s lawyer, said that based on the medical reports, the district and sessions judge’s court held that the athlete is “physically incapable of committing rape” and granted Pramanik bail after 25 days in custody.
Now sharp differences have emerged between the police and the members of the medical board after the former submitted a charge sheet declaring Pinki Pramanik as being a male and proceeding to accuse the person of raping a woman. However, the doctors contest the claim by the police and say that Pinki is not a male but a “male pseudo hermaphrodite.”
Defending the police version, Shantomay Basu additional public prosecutor said, “The medical board that examined Pinki Pramanik declared Pramanik as being a male having the ability to rape. The police have filed the charge sheet in this regard.”
Members of the medical board told Hindustan Times they differed with the police. “Pinki Pramanik is neither a male nor a female. Pramanik is a male pseudo hermaphrodite. It is a genetic disorder. That’s the medical opinion. It’s now for the court to deliberate,” Dr BN Kahali, board chairman, said.