“Virgin means unmarried and I don’t think these words are objectionable,” said Bihar Health Minister Mangal Pandey on Wednesday when asked about the Indira Gandhi Institute of Medical Science (IGIMS) Patna declaration form row. IGIMS has reportedly asked its employees to declare their virginity and number of wives etc. in a marital status declaration form. Commenting on the form, Pandey said that virgin just referred to an ‘unmarried woman’.

Speaking to new agency ANI, Pandey said, “The word which is used is ‘virgin’. It means unmarried girl, maiden. I don’t think these words are not objectionable. But still this issue is being raised. I had a word with the officials of the IGIMS. They said that this is the format of AIIMS and since 1983, it is being used in every organisation of the country.”

The IGIMS administration also dismissed the controversy with a similar explanation. College medical superintendent Manish Mandal said that the term ‘virgin’ had nothing to do with virginity but with marital status. “IGIMS follows the rules and regulations of AIIMS which follows the Central Services’ rules. The format has imbibed the terms married, widower and virgin. The term ‘virgin’ doesn’t relate to the aspect of virginity but to unmarried,” Mandal said as quoted by ANI.

The IGIMS form carries questions such as ‘That I am bachelor/widower/virgin’, ‘That I am married and have only one wife living’. ‘That I am married to a person who has no other wife living’, ‘That I am married to a person who has another wife living’ and ‘That I am married and have more than one wife’, are also declarations that the form asks its employees.