Karnataka High Court Orders The State of Karnataka To Clarify Its Stance on Aarogya Setu
The petition filed by SFLC.IN’s advisory board member Mr. Anivar Aravind challenging mandatory-voluntary imposition of Aarogya Setu and lack of specific legislation was listed on 03.08.2020 in the Karnataka High Court before the bench of Hon’ble Chief Justice Mr. Abhay Oka and Hon’ble Justice Ashok S. Kinagi. The petitioner is represented by SFLC.IN, Senior Advocate Mr. Colin Gonsalves, Advocate Ali Zia Kabir, Advocate Clifton Rozario, and Advocate Avani Choksi.
In the last order dated 17.07.2020, the Court had allowed amendments in the original petition and the impleadment of Bangalore Metro Rail Corporation and the Union of India represented by Secretary of Ministry of Health and Family Welfare.
The prayer of the amendment petition seeks that the court should issue a “direction to the respondents to delete and destroy the already collected data including the data collected at the time of registration once the pandemic phase is declared over by the World Health Organisation or the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare”. Another important prayer in the amended petition is to “direct the respondents not to transfer or share personal data and sensitive personal data of citizens collected through the Aarogya Setu application to third parties except when it is necessary for the treatment purpose of a patient, and even such shared data should be deleted once the pandemic phase is over.“
Chief Justice Abhay Oka sought clarification from the counsel for Ministry of Health and Family Welfare regarding the SoP for Offices dated 04.06.2020 which made it mandatory for all employees to install Aarogya Setu. He also sought clarification from the Bangalore Metro Rail Corporation regarding the mandatory imposition of Aarogya Setu on commuters. The Standing Counsel for the Union of India argued that the counter filed by the UoI clearly states that the Ministry of Home Affairs notification dated 30.05.2020 and other subsequent orders supersede the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare’s order mandating installation of Aarogya Setu in the offices. The counter filed by the respondents also states that the use of Aarogya Setu application for Bangalore Metro passengers is premature as the operation of metro is prohibited till 31.08.2020 vide MHA’s order dated 29.07.2020.
Senior Advocate for petitioners Mr. Colin Gonsalves also drew the Bench’s attention towards the Guidelines for Passengers by States published on the Airport Authority of India’s (Respondent No. 4) website. The State of Karnataka (Respondent No. 5) has made it mandatory for passengers visiting Karnataka to install Aarogya Setu.
The Bench has ordered that if the respondents make a statement that no person who has downloaded Aarogya Setu will be denied access to any services, the prayers of the petition can be worked out. The Bench has also ordered the State of Karnataka to clarify its position regarding the imposition of Aarogya Setu.
The matter has been listed on 13.08.2020.