Cannot deny services in absence of Aarogya Setu App, says Karnataka High Court

New Delhi (ILNS): The Karnataka High Court today ordered that in the absence of a law, central and state government agencies cannot deny any benefit to citizens if they don’t install Aarogya Setu App.

The division bench, comprising of Chief Justice Abhay Shreeniwas Oka and Justice Ashok S. Kinagi, was hearing Anivar A. Aravind’s petition  seeking a permanent order against the use of the contact tracing application.

Appearing on behalf of the petitioner, Senior Advocate Colin Gonsalves said that the government should not deny services to citizens for not installing the app. Use of the app as mandatory for all employees both public and private is in violation of Fundamental Rights, guaranteed under Articles 14, 19 and 21 of the Constitution of India.

Advocate M N Kumar appearing for the Central government, submitted that Aarogya Setu was made mandatory for all central government employees by the Department of Personnel and Training (DOPT).The National Executive Committee’s (NEC) guidelines dated May 17 made the app voluntary, he further added.

The Court granted time to the Central Government Counsel to file the government’s objections till November 3.The case will next be heard on November 10.

The Petitioner wanted the app to be made voluntary targeting the Ministry of Railways and Airports Authority of India, which, at that time had released standard operating procedures mandating the app’s installation in a country where less than 35% of the population has access to smartphones.

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