Kerala High Court on Tuesday refused to issue any interim orders on a plea challenging the Central government's decision to mandate the use of Aarogya Setu app for all public and private sector employees returning to work amid the COVID-19 crisis. On May 8, a petition filed in Kerala High Court on Friday, challenging the directions issued by the Central government to make the use of 'Aarogya Setu' app mandatory for government and private sector employees. The petition, filed by Thrissur District Congress Committee General Secretary John Daniel through advocates Sriram Parakkat KS Sripathi and Anupama Subramanian, said that such directions violate the right to privacy and personal autonomy.
The court also sought a statement from the Central government on the privacy safeguards of the application and asked the Centre whether it can guarantee that the information of the users will not be misused. The counsel of the Central government said that they will place a statement on record.
"Extraordinary situations call for extra-ordinary measures. It is in extraordinary circumstances, we will come back to it in normal circumstances," a divison bench of Justice Anu Sivaraman and Justice MR Anitha observed and slated the matter for further hearing on May 18.
"A privacy protocol has been developed. It (Aarogya Setu app) has been recognized as the best app in the world fighting COVID-19 right now. Around 130 COVID-19 hotspots have been identified. Lakhs of people are downloading the app every day," the council said.
Aarogya Setu was launched by the Indian government on April 2 as the official app to help with contact tracing efforts. The app has been promoted by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and other BJP leaders and has been downloaded over 9 crore times already. The Centre has recently made the app mandatory for individuals in containment zones for COVID-19, and for all government officials.
(With Inputs from ANI)
(Image credits: PTI)