The Centre informed the Karnataka High Court that it is not mandatory for a passenger; to install the Aarogya Setu application on mobile phone. That its use is voluntary. After filling a self-declaration form, passenger can undertake Air or Railway travel. The court made this order in a petition filed by a cyber security activist, Anivar A. Aravind. Senior Advocate Prof Ravivarma Kumar represented the petitioner. He contended that making the use of the application mandatory violates the Fundamental Rights under Articles 14, 19 and 21 of the Constitution of India.
The Division Bench consisting of Chief Justice Abhay Shreeniwas Oka and Justice ES Indiresh passed the order; after the Additional Solicitor General (ASG), M N Nargund clarified it on behalf of the Central Government.
He further informed the Court that downloading of the Aarogya Setu app is only advisable. Additionally, Nargund stated that the self-declaration form is provided in the Central government’s order on May 21. The order includes general instructions for starting of air travel. The self-declaration form also contains an undertaking stating that the passenger had not visited any containment zones; and he does not have symptoms of COVID-19.
Order By The Karnataka High Court
The Bench, therefore, observed;
“As stated by the Additional Solicitor General; even if a passenger wishes to travel by Air and has not downloaded Aarogya Setu application; he can travel after filing a self-declaration form. Therefore, it is not mandatory for a citizen; to provide evidence of downloading the Aarogya Setu application as a condition for air travel. It is provided that it is advisable to download the application before commencing rail journey. This makes it clear that a person who wishes to travel is permitted to travel; even if he has not downloaded the application.”
Response Asked From The Central And State Governments
The court has directed the State and the Central government on broader issues which are:
- Firstly, can the Central and State Governments make the use of the Aarogya Setu application as a mandatory condition for accessing all public offices?
- Secondly, does the law support the action of the Central government to introduce the law?
Concerning these issues, the Court directed the governments to file their responses within three weeks.
The next hearing of this matter is on July 10, 2020.