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Visually impaired facing problems with new currency: HC

Press Trust of India, New Delhi, Dec 1 2017, 19:29 IST
File photo for representation.

File photo for representation.

Visually impaired persons are facing difficulty in using the newly introduced currency notes and coins, the Delhi High Court observed today and issued notice to the government and the RBI.

The court said the matter was of "very grave public interest" and should be addressed seriously.

A number of visually impaired people in the country were "facing problem with these new notes. In our interaction with such people, they told us that they are facing huge difficulty due to the change of size of notes also," a bench of Acting Chief Justice Gita Mittal and Justice C Hari Shankar said.

The court made the observation and issued notice to the Reserve Bank of India and Centre on a plea seeking to change the new currency notes and make them easily identifiable and differentiable for visually impaired people.

The court listed the matter for December 6.

During the hearing, central government standing counsel Sanjeev Narula, who also appeared for RBI, said this plea could be treated as a representation and be disposed of by the court.

The court, however, said the petition cannot be disposed of at this stage and asked the government and RBI if it was looking at this issue.

A petition filed by NGO, All India Confederation of Blind, said visually impaired people were facing hardship in identification, usage and transaction of the new currency notes of Rs 2000, Rs 500, Rs 200 and Rs 50 denominations.

Maintaining that the size of old and new notes were different, the petitioner also sought replacement of coins of Rs 10, Rs 5, Rs 2 and Rs 1 saying these were of a similar structure.

It said that the new notes were issued without complying to the accessibility standards for persons with disabilities and even the tactile marks on some notes were hardly identified by anyone as these would also disappear with the use of currency.

It sought direction to the authorities to withdraw or replace the new currency notes in a phased and time-bound manner by issuing another set of notes which could be easily identified by the visually impaired.

The plea said that due to this problem, the visually impaired persons were unable to conduct their daily financial work independently and had to depend on others for identifying these notes and coins.

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