Kerala HC stresses needs for safeguards for UPI

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Kochi, Oct 19 (IANS) The Kerala High Court has expressed security concerns about the country’s Unified Payment Interface (UPI) system, even while acknowledging the positive impact that it has had on money transactions.

“The UPI has transformed the financial spectrum in India; and in particular, the manner in which people transact money. It’s easy-to-use interface and ingrained security features, has made UPI the preferred mode of payment for millions of Indians, making it the fastest growing payments systems in the world.

“Like in many good initiatives, there are chinks in the armour – in a manner of speaking; Charlatans commit cyber crimes and create byzantine maze of accounts, through which ill-gotten wealth is moved and parked. I am, therefore, of the firm view that, certain specific safeguards will have to be now infused into process, lest the people lose their faith in the UPI system itself, especially when it is spearheaded and recognised internationally as a vanguard initiative of India,” it observed.

The court’s remarks came while considering a bunch of petitions moved by people whose bank accounts were frozen by authorities after finding out that a cyber criminal had allegedly transferred money to their accounts through UPI.

The petitioners said that they are facing huge losses to their businesses after their bank accounts have been frozen.

They sought the intervention of the court as the trust of the business community in the UPI system has been affected.

But counsel for the Central government said there is an instant response system when such complaints are raised following which the state police concerned gets going and examines these accounts.

However the court said: “One fails to fathom why their bank accounts in full, should remain frozen. This is more so because, even when the sums in question may have found credit in the accounts of the petitioners, unless the investigation eventually reveals that they were complicit in the cyber crime, or had received the same being aware of it, they could never be construed to be accused.”

It then ordered the respective banks of the petitioners to freeze the accounts only to the extent of the amounts mentioned in the orders issued by the police besides directed the police to inform the banks as to whether the accounts of the petitioners need to remain frozen, and if so, for how long.

It added that if the same is not done, the petitioners are free to approach the court again.



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