Delhi HC constitutes committee on accessibility of financial services to visually challenged


PTI | New Delhi | Updated: 02-08-2022 16:32 IST | Created: 02-08-2022 16:03 IST
Delhi HC constitutes committee on accessibility of financial services to visually challenged
Representative image Image Credit: ANI
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The Delhi High Court has constituted a High Powered Committee under the chairmanship of an IIT Delhi professor to look into the issues concerning accessibility of financial services to the visually challenged.

A bench headed by Chief Justice Satish Chandra Sharma said that it was "unfortunate" that judicial intervention was required when measures to ensure ease of accessibility for the specially-abled should be implemented in a proactive manner.

The bench, also comprising Justice Subramonium Prasad, granted three months to the committee to submit its status report and said that it "hopes that the committee will take these observations into consideration while arriving at a feasible solution".

The court's order was passed on a petition by George Abraham -- a visually challenged person seeking directions for the appointment of a committee to ensure access to financial services for the visually challenged person.

Petitions highlighting similar concerns were also filed by the Blind Graduates Forum of India, All India Confederation of the Blind as well as individuals Rohit Dandriyal and Rahul Kumar.

"A High Powered Committee is constituted by this Court to look into all the grievances raised in the present application and the connected writ petitions to offer practical solutions in the matter," said the court in its order dated July 29.

"Prof. M. Balakrishnan shall be the Chairman of the Committee. The Director, IIT Delhi is requested to provide all logistic support to the Committee constituted under the Chairmanship of Prof. M Balakrishnan," stated the court.

The other members of the seven-person committee include Professor Kolin Paul from IIT Delhi, two officials from the Reserve Bank of India and an officer to be nominated by the Union of India, the court stated.

"Mr. George Abraham and Mr. Amar Jain, Member of Blind Graduates Forum of India will also be the members of the committee," it added.

The court also granted permission to Dandriyal and Kumar to give their inputs to the committee and listed the matter for hearing on November 25.

"This Court is pained to observe at this juncture that it is unfortunate that judicial intervention is required in such matters when measures to ensure ease of accessibility for the specially-abled should be implemented in a proactive manner. However, this Court hopes that the committee will take these observations into consideration while arriving at a feasible solution," the court said.

Earlier this year, the court had sought the stand of the central government, Reserve Bank of India, and IIT Delhi on Abraham's plea seeking the constitution of a committee for framing guidelines to ensure that financial services are accessible to the visually challenged.

The application was part of his petition seeking directions to ensure that all financial services as well as all bank websites, internet banking facilities, and mobile phone applications for financial services are made accessible for persons with visual challenges.

In his application, the petition had stated that his concern was not concerning an absence of laws to address access to financial services for the visually challenged but a lack of their implementation, including the RBI's master circular.

The petitioner had submitted that these laws are being haphazardly implemented in spite of the RBI having wide powers to ensure compliance with its directions, such as the imposition of financial penalties. "For example, while some internet banking applications and ATMs have good accessibility, many are still not accessible. Some financial services used by the public such as digital payment wallets or vendor card payment machines appear to offer no access whatsoever for visually impaired persons," the plea had stated. The petitioner had suggested that a committee be appointed to formulate steps and guidelines to address the issues concerning access to financial services for the visually impaired.

"The said approach can guide this Hon'ble Court in its endeavor to uphold the rights guaranteed to the 12 million blind people and 50 million visually impaired persons in India under Articles 14, 19, and 21 of the Constitution and Sections 3(1), 13(1) and (2), and 42 of the Rights of Persons with Disabilities Act, 2016," the plea claimed.

(This story has not been edited by Devdiscourse staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

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