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All Posts | Oct 19,2020

Karnataka High Court Orders That State Cannot Deny Services or Benefits To Citizens Who Do Not Have Aarogya Setu


Update on Anivar A Aravind v. Ministry of Home Affairs, GM PIL WP (C) 7483 of 2020 : Karnataka High Court orders that in the absence of a law State cannot deny services or benefits to citizens who do not have Aarogya Setu

SFLC.in’s advisory board member Mr. Anivar A Arvind has filed a petition in the Karnataka High Court challenging the voluntary-mandatory imposition of Aarogya Setu and invasion of privacy rights in the absence of a specific legislation governing data collection and processing by it. He is represented by Senior Advocate Colin Gonsalves, counsels from SFLC.in, Advocate Clifton D’ Rozario, Advocate Avani Choksi and Advocate Ali Zia Kabir in the matter. 

So far, the Government of India through Ministry of Railways, Airports Authority of India and Ministry of Civil Aviation has stated on record that Aarogya Setu is not mandatory to avail rail or air services. The Airports Authority of India also had to revise their state-wise quarantine guidelines which had initially made Aarogya Setu mandatory. Similarly, Bangalore Metro Rail Corporation Limited (BMRCL) withdrew its initial statement that Aarogya Setu was mandatory for metro commuters. The Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs also amended their draft Standard Operating Procedure (SoP) which had made Aarogya Setu mandatory for metro commuters. The now notified SoP by Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs states that installation of Aarogya Setu is advisable in nature. 

In the last hearing on October 5th, the Respondents i.e. Union of India had sought more time to file objections. The Court had granted them additional 10 days to file their objections and the matter was listed for hearing today i.e. 19.10.2020. 

Proceedings on 19.10.2020

The Counsel for Union of India, today, again sought for another extension to file their statement of objections. Senior Advocate Colin Gonsalves informed the Court that the matter was listed for interim relief and pressed for interim relief prayers number II and III. 

Interim prayer number II reads as “directing the respondents not to deny any service to a citizen for not installing the Aarogya Setu application, pending disposal of this writ petition”. 

Interim prayer number III reads as “for an order restraining the respondents during the pendency of this petition from proceeding with the Aarogya Setu App and with the data collected, in any manner, whether the collection of data from members of the public is stated to be voluntary or involuntary”. 

He also informed the Court that the Department of Personnel and Training has still made Aarogya Setu mandatory for its employees, and that this is the second extension sought by the counsels for Union of India. To this, the Counsel for Union of India informed the Court currently, there is no record of any state instrumentality mandating Aarogya Setu. 

Hon’ble Chief Justice Abhay Oka ordered that in the absence of a legislation, central and state government or their agencies or instrumentalities cannot deny any benefit or service to a citizen for not installing Aarogya Setu. 

The Karnataka High Court also asked the Counsel for Union of India that “what happens if people do not use mobile phones by choice?” 

The Court granted time to Union of India to file a statement of objections. The matter has been listed for hearing on 10th November. 

S. No.DateAction Taken
1. 04.06.2020Notice issued to respondents & responses to be filed by 11th June. https://sflc.in/petition-challenging-defacto-imposition-aarogya-setu-ka…
2. 12.06.2020Railways and MoCA state on record that Aarogya Setu is not mandatory in naure. Statement of objections to be filed by Respondents if Aarogya Setu requires a specific legislation. https://sflc.in/aarogya-setu-not-mandatory-air-or-rail-travel-update-pe…
3. 10.07.2020Petitioner seeks leave to apply for amendment.
4. 17.07.2020Amendments allowed and adding the Union of India and BMRCL as respondents allowed. Ministry of Health’s SoP for offices brought into court’s notice. BMRCL to clarify if Aarogya Setu is mandatory for metro commuters. https://sflc.in/karnataka-high-court-allows-amendment-petition-aarogya-…
5. 03.08.2020MoHFW revises it SoP. The AAI’s state-wise quarantine guidelines brought to courts notice. They make installation of Aarogya Setu mandatory. AAI seeks time to file response. Court states that once GoI takes clear stance on Aarogya Setu, prayers IIIA and IIIB will be worked out.https://sflc.in/karnataka-high-court-orders-state-karnataka-clarify-its…
6. 13.08.2020Adjourned. 
7. 19.08.2020AAI modifies it statewise quarantine guidelines. An intervention application has been filed which the Court dismisses. https://sflc.in/aarogya-setu-optional-air-passengers-airport-authority-…
8. 03.09.2020Amendments to the petition allowed. 
9. 16.09.2020Adjourned. 
10.22.09.2020Response to be filed by respondents on mandatory-voluntary nature of Aarogya Setu to work out interim relief prayers II and III. https://sflc.in/update-anivar-aravind-v-ministry-home-affairs-gm-pil-wp…;
11.05.10.2020Adjourned as the counsels for respondents seek time to file statement of objections. 
12. 19.09.2020Counsels for Union of India again seek adjournment for filing statement of objections. The Karnataka High Court orders that the State cannot refuse services or benefits to any citizen who does not have Aarogya Setu. 

Also read our coverage of the matter here:

1. Aarogya Setu is optional for air passengers, Airport Authority of India informs Karnataka High Court

2. Karnataka High Court orders the State of Karnataka to clarify its stance on Aarogya Setu

3. Karnataka High Court allows amendment of petition in Aarogya Setu case: Update on petition challenging Aarogya Setu's voluntary-mandatory nature and lack of a specific legislation

4. Aarogya Setu is not mandatory for air or rail travel

5. Petition Challenging the de-facto imposition of Aarogya Setu in Karnataka High Court

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All Posts | Sep 22,2020

Update on Anivar A Aravind v. Ministry of Home Affairs, GM PIL WP (C) 7483 of 2020

Update on Anivar A Aravind v. Ministry of Home Affairs, GM PIL WP (C) 7483 of 2020

SFLC.in’s advisory board member Mr. Anivar A Arvind has filed a petition in the Karnataka High Court challenging the voluntary-mandatory imposition of Aarogya Setu and invasion of privacy rights in the absence of a specific legislation governing data collection and processing by it. He is represented by Senior Advocate Colin Gonsalves, counsels from SFLC.in, Advocate Clifton D’ Rozario, Advocate Avani Choksi and Advocate Ali Zia Kabir in the matter.

So far, the Government of India through Ministry of Railways, Airports Authority of India and Ministry of Civil Aviation has stated on record that Aarogya Setu is not mandatory to avail rail or air services. The Airports Authority of India also had to revise their state-wise quarantine guidelines which had initially made Aarogya Setu mandatory. Similarly, Bangalore Metro Rail Corporation Limited (BMRCL) withdrew its initial statement that Aarogya Setu was mandatory for metro commuters. The Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs also amended their draft Standard Operating Procedure (SoP) which had made Aarogya Setu mandatory for metro commuters. The now notified SoP by Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs states that installation of Aarogya Setu is advisable in nature.

The matter was listed for hearing today i.e. 22.09.2020.

Senior Advocate Colin Gonsalves informed the Court that the matter was listed for interim relief and pressed for interim relief prayers number II and III.

Interim prayer number II reads as “directing the respondents not to deny any service to a citizen for not installing the Aarogya Setu application, pending disposal of this writ petition”.

Interim prayer number III reads as “for an order restraining the respondents during the pendency of this petition from proceeding with the Aarogya Setu App and with the data collected, in any manner, whether the collection of data from members of the public is stated to be voluntary or involuntary”.

To this, the Court asked Senior Advocate Colin Gonsalves what he meant with “proceeding with the App” to which Mr. Gonsalves responded that it means any data collection and processing exercise carried out by the State. He also informed the Court that in the absence of a specific legislation, such data collection and processing, voluntary or involuntary, is against the law established in Justice K. S. Puttaswamy v. Union of India (WP(C) No. 494 of 2012).

Hon’ble Chief Justice Abhay Oka observed that if the government is directed to not deny services on the basis of (non)-installation of the App, then the use of Aarogya Setu becomes voluntary. He also asked the counsel for Union of India to respond on the question of whether anybody who voluntarily downloads the App, whether the state utilises the data collected from the user?

The Counsel for Union of India contended that the prayers by the petitioner are misconceived and seeks time to file a statement of objections.

The Court granted time to Union of India to file a statement of objections till 3rd October, 2020. The matter has been listed for hearing on 5th October, 2020.

To track the updates on Anivar A Aravind v. Ministry of Home Affairs, click here.

S. No.DateAction Taken
1. 04.06.2020Notice issued to respondents & responses to be filed by 11th June. https://sflc.in/petition-challenging-defacto-imposition-aarogya-setu-ka…
2. 12.06.2020Railways and MoCA state on record that Aarogya Setu is not mandatory in naure. Statement of objections to be filed by Respondents if Aarogya Setu requires a specific legislation. https://sflc.in/aarogya-setu-not-mandatory-air-or-rail-travel-update-pe…
3. 10.07.2020Petitioner seeks leave to apply for amendment.
4. 17.07.2020Amendments allowed and adding the Union of India and BMRCL as respondents allowed. Ministry of Health’s SoP for offices brought into court’s notice. BMRCL to clarify if Aarogya Setu is mandatory for metro commuters. https://sflc.in/karnataka-high-court-allows-amendment-petition-aarogya-…
5. 03.08.2020MoHFW revises it SoP. The AAI’s state-wise quarantine guidelines brought to courts notice. They make installation of Aarogya Setu mandatory. AAI seeks time to file response. Court states that once GoI takes clear stance on Aarogya Setu, prayers IIIA and IIIB will be worked out.https://sflc.in/karnataka-high-court-orders-state-karnataka-clarify-its…
6. 13.08.2020Adjourned. 
7. 19.08.2020AAI modifies it statewise quarantine guidelines. An intervention application has been filed which the Court dismisses. https://sflc.in/aarogya-setu-optional-air-passengers-airport-authority-…
8. 03.09.2020Amendments to the petition allowed. 
9. 16.09.2020Adjourned. 
10.22.09.2020Response to be filed by respondents on mandatory-voluntary nature of Aarogya Setu to work out interim relief prayers II and III. 

Also read our coverage of the matter here:

1. Aarogya Setu is optional for air passengers, Airport Authority of India informs Karnataka High Court

2. Karnataka High Court orders the State of Karnataka to clarify its stance on Aarogya Setu

3. Karnataka High Court allows amendment of petition in Aarogya Setu case: Update on petition challenging Aarogya Setu's voluntary-mandatory nature and lack of a specific legislation

4. Aarogya Setu is not mandatory for air or rail travel

5. Petition Challenging the de-facto imposition of Aarogya Setu in Karnataka High Court

All Posts | Aug 03,2020

Update on Anivar A Aravind v. Ministry of Home Affairs & Ors., Karnataka High Court Allows Amendment to Petition

Update on Anivar A Aravind v. Ministry of Home Affairs & Ors., Karnataka High Court Allows Amendment to Petition

SFLC.IN's advisory board member Mr. Anivar A Aravind filed a petition in the Karnataka High Court challenging the voluntary-mandatory nature  of Aarogya Setu and invasion of privacy rights in the absence of a specific legislation governing data collected by it. He is represented by Senior Advocate Mr. Colin Gonsalves, counsels from SFLC.In, Advocate Clifton D’ Rozario, Advocate Avani Chokshi and Advocate Ali Zia Kabir in the matter.

In the last hearing, the Airport Authority of India had clarified that Aarogya Setu was not mandatory for airport travel and had revised their Standard Operating Procedure (SoP) stating the same. This was placed on record by the Court. The decision of Bangalore Metro Rail Corporation Ltd (BMRCL) to make Aarogya Setu mandatory for metro commuters was also brought to Court’s notice. The BMRCL had placed a draft SoP by the Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs(MoHUA) on record stating that they had made Aarogya Setu mandatory for commuters on the basis of MoHUA’s draft SoP. Owing to the hearings, the MoHUA released guidelines for metros on 02.09.2020 stating that the use of Aarogya Setu is advisable for commuters.

The petition was listed for hearing today i.e. 03.09.2020 before the division bench of Hon'ble Chief Justice Abhay Okay and Justice Ashok K. Kinagi.

In today’s hearing, the Court allowed the amendment application which includes the details of latest function creep of Aarogya Setu Open API and two additional prayers seeking

a. an order injuncting the respondents from proceeding with the Aarogya Setu app and with the data collected, in any manner, whether the collection of data from members of the public is stated to be voluntary or involuntary”.

b. “for an order directing the respondents to permanently delete all the data collected through the Aarogya Setu app, including the data transferred to third parties”.

An interim prayer has been added as well which reads as “for an order restraining the respondents during the pendency of this petition from proceeding with the Aarogya Setu App and with with the data collected, in any manner, whether the collection of data from members of the public is stated to be voluntary or involuntary.”

The petition has been listed for hearing on 16.09.2020.

For updates and orders of each hearing, please refer to:

1. Karnataka High Court's case status

2. Aarogya Setu is optional for air passengers, Airport Authority of India informs Karnataka High Court  (19.08.2020)

3. Karnataka High Court orders the State of Karnataka to clarify its stance on Aarogya Setu (03.08.2020)

4. Karnataka High Court allows amendment of petition in Aarogya Setu case: Update on petition challenging Aarogya Setu's voluntary-mandatory nature and lack of a specific legislation (17.07.2020)

5. Aarogya Setu is not mandatory for air or rail travel (12.06.2020)

6. Petition Challenging the de-facto imposition of Aarogya Setu in Karnataka High Court (05.06.2020)

7. SFLC's litigation tracker

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