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Aarogya Setu cannot be made mandatory by govt for now, says Karnataka HC

The Karnataka High Court on Monday passed an order saying that in the absence of law, neither state nor the central government agencies can deny any benefit to an individual for not having Aarogya Setu on his phone.

twitter-logoIndia Today Tech | October 19, 2020 | Updated 16:03 IST

Highlights

  • Karnataka HC has ordered that Aarogya Setu will note be made mandatory for now
  • The order was passed in response to a petition filed by SFLC board member Anivar Arvind in Karnataka High Court.
  • Aarogya Setu is one of the most popular COVID-19 tracing apps in the world.

The Karnataka High Court on Monday passed an order saying that in the absence of law, neither state nor the central government agencies can deny any benefit to an individual for not having Aarogya Setu on his phone. The order was passed in response to a petition filed by SFLC board member Anivar Arvind in Karnataka High Court.

As per a Medianama report, Arvind had filed a petition in the Karnataka HC that challenged the imposition of Aarogya Setu. In his petition, he had also expressed concerns about the invasion of privacy rights in the absence of specific legislation governing data collection and processing by it. He was represented by Senior Advocate Colin Gonsalves and Chief Justice Abhay Oka and Justice Ashok Kinagi were hearing Anivar's petition.

On September 22, the court had asked the central government to specify whether they are collecting personal information or data of the users who have Aarogya Setu installed on their phones. They were also asked to specify which app is collecting data and under which law.

Three important ministries the Ministry of Railways, Airports Authority of India and Ministry of Civil Aviation had gone on record to state that Aarogya Setu is not mandatory to avail rail or air services. The AAI had also revised their state-wise quarantine guidelines which had earlier stated that Aarogya Setu is mandatory for air travels.

For the unversed, the Aarogya Setu is one of the most popular COVID-19 tracing apps in the world. Its services are only confined to the borders of India.

Earlier in October, the World Health Organization's (WHO) Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus had lauded the Aarogya Setu app saying that it had helped city public health departments to identify areas where clusters could be anticipated.

"The Aarogya Setu app from India has been downloaded by 150 million users, and has helped city public health departments to identify areas where clusters could be anticipated and expand testing in a targeted way, " the official statement by WHO read.

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