A public interest petition filed by advocate Rohit Dandriyal in Delhi High Court has claimed that the new Rs 50 notes do not bear any identification mark for visually impaired persons to differentiate between denominations. He has sought a direction to the RBI to issue the new Rs 50 notes with identification mark for visually impaired persons which should be then approved by the Centre.
The newly issued Rs 50 currency notes cannot be differentiated from others by visually impaired persons, a PIL on 3-11-2017 claimed in the Delhi High Court which sought the RBI and the Centre’s stand on the issue.
A bench of Acting Chief Justice Gita Mittal and Justice C Hari Shankar said the matter needed urgent attention of the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) and the central government as it was of public importance. “The issue is of public importance and relates to the rights of the visually impaired persons. It needs an urgent attention of the RBI and Central government. Let it be considered,” the bench said.
The petition by advocate Rohit Dandriyal also sought directions to the authorities to withdraw the Rs 50 notes which do not have any identification marks and stop printing.
It said that according to the RBI, a special feature has been introduced on the left of the watermark window on all notes except the Rs 10 note. This feature is in different shapes for various denominations. For example, a vertical rectangle denotes a Rs 20 note, a square means Rs 50 (in older notes), triangle and circle for Rs 100, a diamond denoted the Rs 1,000 currency which is not a legal tender now it said
These designs are etched into the notes, the plea said. It has claimed that by issuing such notes, the respondents (government and RBI) “violated the constitutional right of visually impaired persons, which is confirmed by article 14 of the Constitution India i.e. the state shall not deny to any person equality before the law or the equal protection of the laws within the territory of India”.
The Delhi High Court today directed the Centre to place before the RBI suggestions made by visually impaired people on ways of distinguishing between different denominations of currency notes with the help of features such as cut edges or different shapes and sizes. A bench of Acting Chief Justice Gita Mittal and Justice C Hari Shankar said the central board of the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) shall take a view on including the recommended changes in the notes issued in the future and a report be filed in this regard before the next date of hearing on July 31.
The suggestions were given by some visually impaired people whose assistance was sought by the court for examining the currency notes and coins recently issued by the government to see if they faced problems in differentiating between the various denominations. To help the visually impaired distinguish between coins of different denominations, the Centre, represented by Additional Solicitor General Maninder Acharya, told the court it proposed to have different kinds of ridges in the new coins of Re 1, Rs 2, Rs 5 and Rs 10. The government also said it would be phasing out 50-paise coins and was considering reviewing the shapes and sizes of the coins. It sought an action taken report from the Centre and also asked the Secretary of the Ministry of Finance to examine the feasibility of letting the visually impaired experts examine the prototype of the proposed new coins if it was permitted under the law.
The bench was hearing PILs filed by three advocates, a company secretary, and NGO All India Confederation of Blind, who had sought a change in the new currency notes to make them easily identifiable and differentiable for the visually impaired. The PIL by advocate Rohit Dandriyal has sought directions to the authorities to withdraw the Rs 50 notes which do not have any identification marks and to stop printing them. He said that according to the RBI, a special feature has been introduced on the left of the watermark window on all notes, except for the Rs 10-denomination ones.
This feature is in different shapes for various denominations. For example, a vertical rectangle denotes a Rs 20-note, a square means Rs 50 (in older notes), triangle and circle for Rs 100, a diamond denoted the Rs 1,000 currency which is not a legal tender now,” the advocate’s PIL has said. The petition by the NGO has said visually impaired people were facing hardship in the identification, usage, and transaction of the new currency notes of Rs 2,000, Rs 500, Rs 200 and Rs 50 denominations. Maintaining that the size of old and new notes were different, the NGO has also sought the replacement of coins worth Rs 10, Rs 5, Rs 2 and Re 1 saying that these were of a similar structure.