High Court websites to have captchas accessible to Persons with Disabilities
Many High Court websites were exclusively using visual captchas till now, which were inaccessible to the visually challenged.
All Indian High Court websites will now have captchas that are accessible to Persons with Disabilities (PwDs), informed the Ministry of Law and Justice on June 27, 2021.
The facility has been introduced at the initiative of an e-committee of the Supreme Court of India to make the digital infrastructure of the Indian judicial system more accessible.
These captchas will serve as entry points to access essential information on high court websites such as judgments/orders, cause-lists and checking the status of cases.
Why is this significant?
• Many High Court websites were exclusively using visual captchas till now, which were inaccessible to the visually challenged. This made it impossible for Persons with Disabilities to access such content independently.
• The e-committees have now ensured in coordination with all High Courts that the visual captchas are accompanied by audio or text captchas to make the website content accessible to the visually challenged.
• The e-Committee had formulated an action plan to enable accessibility of the digital interface of all High Court websites in Phase 1 of its project.
• The e-Committee conducted a series of sessions for the central project coordinators of all High Courts and their technical teams to create awareness regarding the same and impart training to ensure accessibility of the digital interface of all High Courts' websites and generating accessible PDFs.
• The e-Committee's training programmes for Lawyers aim to sensitise advocates to adopt accessible filing practices.
• The e-Committee is in the process of creating a Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) for generating accessible court documents that will serve as a user guide for all the stakeholders.
• The documents will address the issues of watermarks, entering content by hand, improper placement of stamps, and inaccessible pagination of files.
• The website of the e-Committee (ecommitteesci.gov.in) and the e-Courts website (ecourts.gov.in/ecourts_home/) are also accessible to persons with disabilities.
• The e-Committee webpage has been created on the S3WAAS platform, which complies with the standards for making websites accessible for the disabled.
Judgement Search Portal
• The e-Committee is also creating a judgement search portal ( judgments.ecourts.gov.in ) accessible to persons with disabilities in collaboration with NIC.
• The portal comprises judgements and final orders passed by all High Courts.
• The portal uses a free text search engine and provides the facility of using an audio captcha, along with a text captcha.
• The portal also uses accessible combo boxes, making it easier for the visually disabled to navigate the website.
The e-Committee Chairperson Justice DY Chandrachud had on December 16, 2020 directed all High Courts to make their digital infrastructure accessible to persons with disabilities in conformity with the constitutional and statutory entitlements of the disabled.