A bench of Acting Chief Justice Gita Mittal and Justice C Hari Shankar told the Centre and the RBI that they should examine the new currency notes of Rs 200 and Rs 50 denominations as the visually-impaired people were finding it difficult to use them due to their size and the tactile marks.
“This issue is something which needs to be resolved among yourselves. You (government, RBI and the petitioner here) sit together and sort it out,” the bench said, adding that it is difficult for the visually-impaired to identify them, also due to the change of size of these notes.
The bench observed that the authorities should have consulted some visually impaired experts and others who have worked in this field.
It asked Additional Solicitor General (ASG) Sanjay Jain, who was representing the Centre, why cannot they make the size of the currency as it used to be earlier.
The ASG told the court that they had designed the currency after considering every aspect.
The court asked the Centre to place its view before it on the next date of hearing on 16 February.
The court had earlier refused to stay the printing and circulation of the new Rs 50 notes, issued on 18 August 2017.
The court 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 sought directions to the authorities to withdraw the Rs 50 notes which do not have any identification marks and 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 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 said.
The petition by the NGO said the 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 was different, the NGO also sought replacement of coins of Rs 10, Rs 5, Rs 2 and Re 1 saying these were of a similar structure.