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Madras High Court orders issuance of notice on circular against blind

D.N.I.S. News Network The Madras High Court has ordered the issuance of notice returnable by February first week on a writ petition filed by a blind person, Sekar from Porur, seeking to quash a circular of the National Securities Depository Limited (N.S.D.L.) in Mumbai, imposing certain conditions with regard to visually impaired people opening an account with the I.C.I.C.I. Web Trade in Chennai. The First Bench comprising Chief Justice A. P. Shah and Justice K. Chandru ordered the issuance of notice to Union Social Welfare Secretary, Union Finance Secretary, I.C.I.C.I. Web Trade Managing Director, and N.S.D.L. President.

The circular by N.S.D.L. dated 25 August 2005 states that blind persons who wish to open an account, must come in person at the time of opening the account, operating the same and transferring the security from his/her account to any other account. He/she should be accompanied by two companions. Though the blind person could sign, he/she must put his/her thumb impression and the two companions should also sign on the form to open the account. Further, the blind person should always be accompanied by any one of the companions, who was present at the time of opening the account. In all the records, including the agreement of his/her transactions, one of the companions should also sign.

In the writ petition, Sekar stated that he wanted to do business in share market and when he approached the I.C.I.C.I. Web Trade, N.S.D.L. gave this circular. The petitioner contended that the conditions were impracticable, unreasonable, against the principles of natural justice, and untenable in law; that the circular violated the Fundamental Rights of blind persons guaranteed under the Constitution and the Persons with Disabilities (Equal Opportunities and Protection of Rights and Full Participation) Act. It could pave the way for malafide activities by the companions. The petitioner added that blind people could operate their account independently on the computer, with the help of J.A.W.S.