Keep size of currency notes same to help visually impaired: HC to RBI
Expressing displeasure over frequent changes in features of currency notes, the Bombay high court on Thursday said that the Reserve Bank of India should at least retain the sizes of different denominations so as to enable visually impaired identify the notes easily.
“Do whatever you want to do with the colour and design of the notes, but keep at least their size same,” said the division bench of Chief Justice Pradeep Nandrajog and Justice Bharati Dangre.
Visually differently abled persons will be able to identify the denomination of the note by checking it’s length and breadth, the bench added. The bench was hearing a public interest litigation filed by the National Association for the Blind (NAB) highlighting difficulties faced by blind persons identifying new currency notes and coins. The petitioner body has sought directions to the RBI to include distinctive features in currency notes as also in coins so that blind and low vision persons can easily identify the same.
Following its November 2018 decision to demonetise all old high value currency, RBI has issued new currency notes. This has proved a problem for the visually impaired because, unlike the old notes, the new ones are sized similarly across denominations. For instance, the new ₹100 note’s dimensions are 66 mm X 142 mm, not very different from the new ₹200’s (66 X 146), and the new ₹500 (66X150).
In fact, even the new ₹50 isn’t very far away (66X135).
According to its counsel, advocate Uday Warunjikar, the new currency notes and several new coins introduced by the RBI are not disabled-friendly.
The bench accepted his contention that distinctive features are required to be retained in the notes and coins.
Acting on the PIL, it earlier directed the banking regulator to file an affidavit disclosing what was the compulsion to change features of currency notes and the size of coins.
On Thursday, RBI’s counsel, however, sought time to collect the necessary data. Accordingly the bench granted two more weeks to the banking regulator to state reasons that compelled change in features of currency notes and coins.