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Delhi HC forms panel on accessibility of financial services to visually challenged dated 10.8.2022

The committee will be under the chairmanship of an IIT-D professor

The Delhi High Court has formed a high-powered committee under the chairmanship of an IIT Delhi professor to look into the issues concerning accessibility of financial services to visually challenged persons.

A Bench of Chief Justice Satish Chandra Sharma and Justice Subramonium Prasad granted three months to the committee to submit its status report.

This court is pained to observe at this juncture 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,” the Bench said.

Feasible solution

“However, this court hopes that the committee will take these observations into consideration while arriving at a feasible solution,” it added.

The High Court’s order came 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.

Similar pleas 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.

The High Court noted that the solution that has to be arrived at in the instant matter requires experts from the field of information technology and, therefore, IIT, Delhi was also requested to furnish the name of two senior professors to be members of the committee.

IIT, Delhi accordingly forwarded two names, Prof. M. Balakrishnan, and Prof. Kolin Paul, Professors, Department of Computer Science and Engineering.

“Professor 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,” the court said.

The plea has also sought to ensure that all ATM machines are voice-enabled and accessible for visually challenged persons. It sought to ensure that card-reading devices for making card payments (Point-of-Sale Machines) are accessible for visually challenged persons.

The plea further urged to make it mandatory that all digital mobile wallet applications are accessible and user-friendly for the visually challenged. It sought to ensure that all bank websites and mobile phone applications for financial services are tested for accessibility at every stage of transaction.