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Karnataka HC seeks removal of IVRS on emergency lines

The High Court on Monday directed the state government to respond to a PIL that sought directions to remove the Interactive Voice Response System (IVRS) on national designated emergency numbers 112 and 100.

The petition also prayed for these emergency numbers to be similar to 101 and 108, where the caller in distress can speak to the person within five seconds.

The petition is filed by N T Arun Kumar, a resident of Nagadevanahalli in Bengaluru city. Appearing party-in-person, Arun Kumar informed the court that the IVR system in emergency number 112 requires the caller to choose any one of the options which takes more time, resulting in a waste of valuable time. However, in the case of 101 (the fire emergency service) and 108 (ambulance service), the call is answered within one or two seconds.

“If any citizen, who is in distress or emergency, dials this number for assistance, he is made to go through an IVRS process. This is a flawed process adopted by the designers or the team of 112, as this asks the person in distress to go through the IVRS instructions. By the time the person, who is in panic, listens to the instructions, and understands, the line gets disconnected. Again the caller needs to dial. In this whole process nearly one minute of crucial time is lost,” the petition said.

The petition further stated, “The more the chances are that the attacker on this person in distress would have overpowered within that one minute. So, it is natural that we can’t have IVRS to such emergency/distress numbers like that of Banking or Telecom call centres.” A division bench headed by Chief Justice Ritu Raj Awasthi has posted the matter to April 11. Deccan Herald

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