Tuesday, September 8, 2009

UoH introduces Braille ballot system

By Kalishekar P

History can be created. This is exactly what happened at the Students’ Union Election this year at University of Hyderabad. For the first time in the history of this university and other educational institutions inIndia, a Braille ballot system was introduced for visually challenged students to vote without depending on anyone. It was done with the help of an Election Commission member Ch. Harishkumar and executed during the polling on August 7th.

Earlier, university officials and the Election Commission members had gracefully accepted the proposal sent by the visually challenged students. However, the printing started only at 2.00 am on Monday, after many hiccups. By 6.30 am, three people managed to print 50 copies in a special room.

A university official told us that accessibility is a key issue for the administration. Prof. Umamaheshwar Rao, coordinator of the empowered committee for the differently abled persons, said, "in an Indian university, this is the first time that a braille ballot system has been introduced and 99% disabled voters utilised the facility in this pioneering effort."

The visually impaired students were indeed pleased with this facility. Councillor of School of Management Studies, Mohammed Amer said, "it makes everyone independent and privacy can be maintained. It also brings awareness among people." Kapil, a 2nd year MA Political Science student said that it is an innovation that offers flexibility for the visually impaired to exercise their franchise. He also added that it was a very thrilling experience for him since it was the first time."

Ch. Harishkumar mentioned that being a member in the Election Commission helped him to put forth this idea with strength and conviction. “I hope this will be continued in the coming years," he added.

Many visually challenged students suggested that the braille ballot system should be introduced across all universities in India. Even in the general election, this facility should be made available in all polling booths unlike the 2009 election when only certain polling booths had the 'privilege.' This will be a right step to assert every citizen’s right to maintain his vote as confidential.


  1. Very happy to know this development on our University campus, though a bit late.

    Indeed, when compared to other Universities our University is some how leading in being sensitive towards differently abled students'.