Mumbai: The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has to consider recommendations of an expert committee for making currency notes and coins disabled-friendly, the Bombay High Court said recently.
A division bench of Acting Chief Justice SV Gangapurwala and Justice Sandeep Marne made the observation while hearing a public interest litigation (PIL) filed by the National Association of the Blind (NAB) claiming that the new currency notes and coins posed difficulty for the visually impaired to identify and distinguish them.
The plea, filed in 2016, had also sought that the authorities be directed to place on record the steps undertaken for protecting the rights of blind persons to have access to information about currency notes and coins. It further sought that coins be made disabled friendly as prescribed under the Indian Coinage Act 1906. It prayed that the RBI be directed to introduce visually impaired-friendly notes and coins.
Visually impaired friendly coins
The bench noted that “there cannot be any dispute that the currency and mints have to be disabled user-friendly”. After the PIL was filed the RBI came out with some measures and a series of coins for visually impaired friendly were introduced.
Advocate for the RBI Dhawal Patil informed the HC that a mobile application has also been introduced for visually impaired people.
Uday Warunjikar, advocate for the NAB, said that there are some issues with regard to the operation of the said application.
Here is what the bench opined
The bench opined that the RBI “certainly has to take steps so that the visually impaired persons can distinguish the currency”. It noted: “In fact, as the committee was already appointed, we are waiting for that report, because the same would be the suggestions and / or recommendations of the experts. It is high time the Reserve Bank of India considers the same.”
The HC had directed that the Committee’s report be submitted as soon as it is received. “... else, we will have to proceed ahead based on the averments made in the Writ Petition and the affidavits filed. The matter cannot be adjourned in perpetuity,” the judges emphasised.
The HC has kept the PIL for hearing on June 23 “as a last chance” for the Respondents.
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