Mandating use of Aarogya Setu app ‘utterly illegal’, says former Supreme Court judge

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By Muslim Mirror Staff

New Delhi : Former Supreme Court Judge B N Srikrishna termed the government’s decision mandating the use of Aarogya Setu app “utterly illegal”. Earlier, he was associated as a chair with the committee that came out with the first draft of the Personal Data Protection Bill.

“Under what law do you mandate it on anyone? So far it is not backed by any law,” the former judge told The Indian Express.

On May 1, the Ministry of Home Affairs, in its guidelines after the nationwide lockdown was extended, made Aarogya Setu App mandatory for employees of private and public sector offices. It also asked local authorities to ensure 100% coverage of the app in containment zones. The guidelines were issued by the National Executive Committee set up under the National Disaster Management Act (NDMA), 2005.

The Noida police then said that not having the Aarogya Setu application would be punishable with imprisonment up to six months or fine up to Rs 1,000.

“The Noida police order is totally unlawful. I am assuming this is still a democratic country and such orders can be challenged in court,” he said.

Justice Srikrishna said that the guidelines cannot be considered as having sufficient legal backing to make the use of Aarogya Setu mandatory. “These pieces of legislation — both the National Disaster Management Act and Epidemic Diseases Act — are for a specific reason. The national executive committee in my view is not a statutory body,” he said.

“It is highly objectionable that such an order is issued at an executive level. Such an order has to be backed by Parliamentary legislation, which will authorise the government to issue such an order,” said Justice Srikrishna.

He further asked who will be responsible if there is a breach? It does not say who should be notified.

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