Aarogya Setu app is an option, not must for air, train travel: Centre tells HC

The Aarogya Setu app logo on a mobile phone.  

The Union government on Friday told the High Court of Karnataka that using the Aarogya Setu app was only an option and not mandatory for travelling by air and train, as travellers could submit a self-declaration form instead of using the app.

The statement was made on behalf of the Centre before a Division Bench comprising Chief Justice Abhay Shreeniwas Oka and Justice E.S. Indiresh during the hearing of a PIL petition, filed by Anivar A. Aravind, a city-based software engineer working for a non-profit organisation to protect people’s rights in the digital space.

The latest guidelines issued by the Centre have made the downloading and use of Aarogya Setu app one of the options to travel by air or train as there is the other option of filling up of a self -declaration form to undertake travel, Additional Solicitor General of India (Karnataka HC) M.B. Naragund told the Bench.

The ASG also pointed out from the documents submitted to the court that the option to use Aarogya Setuis, as per recent guidelines, only an advisory in nature and not mandatory, and a passenger not having this app can travel by filling up the necessary details in the self-declaration form.

Following these submissions, the Bench said that it is not necessary to consider the contention of the petitioner that the app has been made as mandatory for air and train travel.

However, the Bench asked the Union government to file its statement of objections on the other contentions – the mandatory use of app for accessing any government service, and that the app’s use has been enforced without the backing of any law and that the app interferes with the right to privacy of the users, etc.

It was also contended in the petition that in many other democratic countries, which have developed similar apps for contact tracing of persons testing positive for COVID-19, the action was voluntary, and most of the apps only used Bluetooth and not user location.

Further hearing has been adjourned till July 10.

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Printable version | Nov 30, 2020 6:58:30 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/karnataka/aarogya-setu-app-is-an-option-not-must-for-air-train-travel-centre-tells-hc/article31816715.ece

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