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Karnataka High Court Reserves Order on Plea to Restrain Authorities from Denying Services for not Installing the Arogya Setu App

By Gautami Chakravarty Gautami Chakravarty      Dec 21, 2020      0 Comments      1,624 Views
Aarogya setu Karnataka High Court

The Karnataka High Court on Thursday, 17th December, 2020 reserved its order in the petition filed by Anivar Aravind who has sought directions to the authorities not to deny any service to citizens for not installing the 'Aarogya Setu' application.

Senior Advocate Colin Gonsalves appearing for the petitioner has argued that the application is not backed by law.

Further it was submitted that the Aarogya setu application fails the test of proportionality.

It collects disproportionate data, there is no need to collect GPS location and there is no need for this data to be stored on the central servers. It was also said that the application fails purpose limitation tests, as it is being used for purposes other than alerting users of their chances of having contracted Covid .

He also submitted that there is no sunset clause in the application.

Additional Solicitor General appearing for the Central government said the implementation of Aarogya Setu application is supported by law and it is one of the measures adopted for containing Covid-19 in the country, which does not violate the privacy of any individuals.

He referred to the statement of objections filed by the government in which it is said that Aarogya Setu application, launched on April 2, is in exercise of powers conferred under the Disaster Management Act, 2005, Epidemic Diseases Act 1897, National Disaster Management Plan and Executive powers.

It is also contended that ‘The Aarogya Setu project is an outcome of joint efforts from various volunteers from industry, academia and government. The external volunteers participated in the Aarogya Setu project in their individual capacity on a pro-bono basis. The data collected by the Aarogya Setu application is governed by the Aarogya Setu Data Access and Knowledge sharing protocol which clearly defines what data can be shared with whom and for what purpose’. 

Moreover, it is claimed that Aarogya setu application is for the benefit of larger public interest. Violation of privacy should not be imaginary, it should be real and it should have reasonable expectations. The app is in the interest of the public at large. There is a rational nexus between objectives sought to be achieved with less impair, maximum benefits are yielded. Even on applying 'necessity test' also the Aarogya Setu application is a valid one.

It adds that the application is one of the useful tool for the health and other administrative authorities to adopt mitigating measures by identifying the persons tested positive in a given locality as well as their contacts with non-covid 19 affected persons and also pre-notice to non-covid 19 affected person of their contacts with covid-19 affected persons which helps non-covid 19 affected person for taking preventive measures including medications. The Government of India has clarified that it has not passed any orders mandating use of Aarogya Setu application for accessing any government service or facility.

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