Supreme Court To Consider Plea On Acid Attack Survivors' Challenges To Complete 'Live Photograph' Requirement Of e-KYC Process

Update: 2024-05-18 09:01 GMT
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The Supreme Court on Friday (May 17) agreed to consider the issue of the lack of guidelines for an inclusive digital KYC process for acid attack survivors and persons with permanent eye damage. The bench led by CJI DY Chandrachud and Justices JB Pardiwala and Manoj Misra issued a notice in the petition and termed it an 'important issue'. "It's an important issue, we will issue notice,...

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The Supreme Court on Friday (May 17) agreed to consider the issue of the lack of guidelines for an inclusive digital KYC process for acid attack survivors and persons with permanent eye damage. 

The bench led by CJI DY Chandrachud and Justices JB Pardiwala and Manoj Misra issued a notice in the petition and termed it an 'important issue'. 

"It's an important issue, we will issue notice, returnable in July" observed the CJI

The petitioners seek directions to the Central authorities for framing appropriate guidelines providing for alternative methods to conduct the Digital KYC/e-KYC (Electronic Know Your Customer) process for acid attack survivors suffering from permanent eye-disfigurement or eye burns, with the view to make the Digital KYC/e-KYC process more accessible and inclusive towards all disabled persons, particularly acid attack survivors. Then petitioners were represented by Sr Adv Siddharth Luthra.

Additionally, it is prayed that the Centre clarifies the meaning and interpretation of 'Live Photograph' as mentioned in the RBI – KYC Master Directions, 2016 for conducting the Digital KYC/e-KYC and suitable alternatives be framed for this 'live photograph' considering the challenges faced by acid attack survivors and those with permanent eye-disfigurement. 

The main petitioner, who is an acid attack survivor suffers from severe eye-disfigurement and facial damage cites the challenges that she faced while attempting to open a bank account. During the process of opening, she was deemed incapable of completing the digital KYC as she couldn't fulfil the requirement of a 'live photograph' taken by blinking her eyes. 

"The Petitioner No. 1 was informed that the mandatory requirement of proving a customer's 'liveness' under the RBI regulated KYC process can only be fulfilled upon a customer blinking his/her eyes before the camera such that the same could be matched with the customer's photograph. Unable to resolve the issue through traditional channels, Petitioner No. 1 turned to social media to expose the difficulties faced by many survivors when attempting to open bank accounts. Soon after, a senior executive from the bank reached out to her and informed that they could make an exception for her to open her account. While a senior executive did reach out to offer a solution for her individual situation (as an exception), the broader issue of similarly placed survivors remains unaddressed."  

The petition is filed with the assistance of AOR Mr Nitin Saluja. 

Case Details : PRAGYA PRASUN VS. UNION OF INDIA W.P.(C) No. 000289 - / 2024 

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