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Petition Supports the Right of Blind Persons in India to Control Their Financial Affairs

Blind man searching audio jack in talking atm, using headset to withdraw money.

A public interest litigation (PIL) was moved in the Delhi High Court seeking direction to the Union of India to ensure accessibility of online and technology-based banking services to people who are blind, ANI reports.

The PIL, moved by petitioner George Abraham, said that it is the state’s responsibility under the Rights of Persons with Disabilities Act to ensure that persons with disabilities have control over their financial affairs.

“As per the National Programme for Control of Blindness, there are about 12 million blind and 50 million people with low vision in India. An obligation is cast upon the state to ensure that financial services, in the current digital age become accessible to every citizen including citizens who are blind,” the PIL said.

According to the petition, people with vision disabilities are legally competent to enter into contracts as per the various circulars issued by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) and it implies that people with vision disabilities are entitled to all banking facilities and services.

The petition said in 2008, Indian Bank Association had issued Procedural Guidelines for banking facilities to people with vision disabilities to chief executives of all member banks which lay special emphasis on making online transactions accessible for blind persons.

The petitioner also provided W3C (World Wide Web Consortium) guidelines that have been developed and accepted as international standards to make online content accessible. These guidelines recommend using technological tools such as screen readers, speech recognition and providing text for all non-text content.

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