The Delhi High Court has sought the stand of the Centre, Reserve Bank of India and IIT-Delhi on a plea for constituting a committee for framing of guidelines to ensure that financial services are accessible to the visually challenged.
A bench of Acting Chief Justice Vipin Sanghi and Justice Navin Chawla issued notice on an application by George Abraham and said that it expected the respondents to provide the names of competent persons who could be part of the committee.
The application is part of the petitioner’s plea seeking directions to ensure that all financial services as well as bank websites, internet banking facilities and mobile phone applications for financial services are made accessible to people with visual challenges.
In his application, the petitioner stated that his concern was not with respect to an absence of law to address access to financial services for the visually challenged but a lack of their implementation, including the RBI’s master circular.
Abraham submitted that these laws are being haphazardly implemented in spite of the RBI having wide powers to ensure compliance of its directions, such as 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 stated.
The petitioner thus suggested that a committee be appointed to formulate steps and guidelines to address the issues concerning access to financial services for the visually impaired.
Abraham further suggested that the committee may comprise government and RBI representatives as well as persons with technological expertise from any institutions of repute such as IIT, persons who are visually challenged and an amicus curie to assist the committee and the court.
“The said approach can guide this hon’ble court in its endeavour 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 stated.
The matter would be heard next on May 26.
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