Bombay High Court
Bombay High Court

Mumbai: Changing the size and other features of currency notes often is “not proper” especially because a visually-impaired person spends years to figure out the dimensions and other features of a banknote or coin, the Bombay High Court said.

A division bench of Chief Justice Pradeep Nandrajog and Justice Bharati Dangre asked the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) to state in two weeks the reason behind its decision to make such changes often.

The court was hearing a petition filed by the National Association of the Blind, claiming new currency notes and coins posed difficulty for the visually impaired people in identifying and distinguishing them.

The bench had on August 1 directed the RBI to file its affidavit in response to the petition. The RBI on Thursday sought further time to file its affidavit as it was collecting data on the issue.

“We don’t want any data. We only want to know the reason behind changing the colour, size and other features of the currency notes and coins. Don’t duck this issue,” the court said.

Just because the RBI has the power and authority, it does not mean it has to exercise the same without caution, it said.

“This is not proper. A visually impaired person spends years to figure out the dimensions and features of a currency note or coin but then the next day, the RBI changes it,” Chief Justice Nandrajog said.

“You (RBI) claim that the new currency notes are issued and features of the old ones are changed because of fake currency. However, after demonetisation, the RBI data showed there was no substance in those claims. All notes printed by the RBI came back to it,” he said.

The fact that the RBI is seeking more time to file an affidavit implies that it does not have any valid reason to show as to why changes were made to the currency notes and coins, the high court said.

“If you (RBI) did have a valid reason, then you would have told it in the first instance itself,” the court observed. The bench has posted the plea for further hearing after two weeks.

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