Chief Justice of India D.Y. Chandrachud, while terming it as his mission to ensure that a software which translates text documents to Braille is made accessible to all lawyers across the country, on Thursday said that he will ask the National Informatics Centre (NIC) to coordinate with Senior Advocate S.K. Rungta for the purpose.
The CJI made the announcement during the hearing of a matter, in which the visually-impaired Senior Advocate was present. Dr. Chandrachud asked him as to how he followed the compilation that the other party was referring to.
Rungta replied that the compilation was on a pen drive and was being translated to Braille by his computer.
He recommended using a software that produces output in Braille rather than the audio format, which cannot be used in Court. The CJI instantly agreed to the proposal and said that as the Supreme Court e-Committee Chairman, it was his responsibility to make the software available for all lawyers, not just in the Supreme Court, but all courts across the country.
As per Rungta, a compatible software can be used in the devices of the court, which can convert the output in Braille. He added that voice translations cannot be used in the court.
The CJI then said that he would request the head of NIC to coordinate with Rungta.
He revealed that his law clerk Rahul Bajaj was also working on this and that they have added audio captcha to the Supreme Court website.
The CJI then requested Rungta to devote some time for the mission.
Over the course of his career, Rungta has fought extensively for the rights of the differently-abled. He is the first designated visually-impaired Senior Advocate in the country.
The Supreme Court had permitted visually-handicapped (blind and partially-blind) candidates to write the civil services examination in Braille, or with the help of a scribe in 1993, on a petition filed by Rungta.
In another landmark judgement on October 8, 2013, the Supreme Court had directed the Central government to implement a three per cent reservation for differently-abled persons in government jobs. Rungta had appeared in this case.
Rungta was born with leukemia and lost his sight around the age of one-and-a-half years. However, nothing could stop him from pursuing his goals, not even blindness. Rungta graduated from the University of Kanpur and joined the National Federation of Blind. He was made the Secretary General of NFB in 1978. At the same time, he also pursued an LL.M from the University of Delhi, eventually enrolling at the Delhi Bar in 1982.
Rungta has been fighting for the rights of people with disabilities for the past three decades, mostly taking up cases on a pro bono basis. He specialises in civil laws and Constitutional matters.
The Delhi High Court made him a Senior Advocate in 2011, making him the first blind lawyer to receive this coveted designation.