The Noida Police has mentioned in its new guidelines that not having Aarogya Setu installed will be considered a violation of the COVID-19 induced lockdown. Those found to be without the app will be liable for punishment.
Action will also be taken against people going outdoors without a face mask or spitting in public places, according to the police in Gautam Buddh Nagar in western Uttar Pradesh.
The new guidelines issued by the Union Home Ministry (MHA) on 1 May has stated that the contract tracing app Aarogya Setu must be installed by all individuals residing within containment zones. The Annexure also says that all public as well as private sector companies must ensure 100 percent coverage of the app.
The liability for criminal action flows from the National Disaster Management Act , 2005 and the Indian Penal Code. Not installing the app would lead to a defiance of the directions which have been issued by the MHA and the Disaster Management Act.
Point 16, within the main direction by itself, there is a clear prescription of criminal penalties for any kind of disobedience from section 51 to 60 of the DMA as well as section 188 of the IPC for defying a public proclamation order.
Specifically among the provisions of the National Disaster Management Act is Section 51(B) which states that for defiance of orders made under the Disaster Management Act, which is the current order by the Union Home Ministry, there shall be criminal prosecution.
Upon conviction, one faces imprisonment of up to a term of 1 year. Or if the defiance of the order leads to loss of life, on conviction the imprisonment will extend for another 1 year to a total of 2 years. Under section 188 of the IPC, upon conviction the term for imprisonment is 6 months.
Launched on 2 April, Aarogya Setu, developed by the Government of India, is a contact tracing tool. It is meant to help determine if you have come in contact with someone “who could have tested COVID-19 positive.”
The app has come under severe criticism for privacy and surveillance concerns as well as the lack of audit and transparency.
(At The Quint, we are answerable only to our audience. Play an active role in shaping our journalism by becoming a member. Because the truth is worth it.)