Aarogya Setu Not Mandatory For Flights & Trains: Govt to K’taka HC

The petition lists six privacy violation including the use of GPS, something no other contact tracing app does.

2 min read

The Centre told the Karnataka High Court on Friday, 12 June, that Aarogya Setu app is not mandatory for passengers traveling by air or rail.

In a hearing on a petition filed by digital rights activist Anivar Aravind, Additional Solicitor General (AGS) MN Nargund informed the division bench, “A person can travel by air without having downloaded the Aarogya Setu app and the same thing applies for travel by railways. A self declaration, though, will have to be given by the passenger,” LiveLaw reported.

Senior advocate Colin Gonsalves, appearing on behalf of the petitioner, argued that the national directives issued by the Union Home Ministry regarding the use of the contact tracing app violates fundamental rights guaranteed under articles 14, 19 and 21 of the Indian Constitution.


According to LiveLaw the bench. while posting the matter for further hearing to 10 July, directed the state and the central government to file its statement of objections on the larger issues raised in the petition. These include:

  1. Violation of a user’s privacy: The petition lists six specific privacy violation including the use of GPS, something no other contact tracing app does.
  2. Goes against the Supreme Court judgment: in the Puttaswamy vs Union of India case laid down that privacy may be invaded only in exceptional situation, only to the extent required, only till the time required, and only under a law passed by the parliament.
  3. Discriminates against the poor: not everyone has a smartphone (smartphone penetration in India is only about 35 percent) – migrant labourers trying to board the trains back to their homes, would not be allowed to board the trains without the app as per Railways Tweet dated 12 May 2020.
  4. Discriminates against the disabled: It has no accessibility features, and even if they were to be incorporated there is only so much they can help the deaf, blind, mute, motor disabled, etc, and so the App violated the Disability Act, 2016.
  5. Malicious Use: A worker of party X once negative has only to walk through a colony dominated by a community supportive of party Y, and so infecting and quarantining everyone which would not only economically cripple a community, but leave it open to social targeting. Rival business may make such use of this app.

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