Imposition of installing Arogya Setu violative of Right to Privacy: plea in Bombay HC

Plea on denial of information on Aarogya Setu creation: Delhi HC asks for Centre's Response

The Bombay High Court bench of Justice Ujjal Bhuyan and Justice Abhay Ahujaon Wednesday while hearing a plea filed by one Tanya Mahajan asked for the response of the Central government in her petition challenging the de-facto imposition of the mobile application Aarogya Setu by the Regional Passport Office (RPO), Mumbai.

In the plea the petitioner claimed that she was denied entry into and service by the passport office because she did not have the mobile application installed on her mobile. She argued that this action by the RPO goes against the law laid down by the Supreme Court in KS Puttuswamy v. Union of India which says that- “There must be a law in existence to justify an encroachment on privacy by the State. There must be a legitimate state aim and the means which are adopted by the legislature must be proportional to the object and needs of the legislation.”

In reference to this the bench has issued notice to the passport office and Central Government and listed the case for hearing in January, 2021.

The petitioner prayed to the court to issue directions to give the choice to citizens about using the mobile application Arogya Setu and not deny any service to them if they do not use the same. She adds that the act of Passport office is not in accordance to the guidelines issued by the ministry of Home Affairs for re-opening all services during pandemic and this infringes right to privacy.

Mahajan also said that since there is no law which makes it mandatory for citizen to install such mobile application which tracks a citizen, its violative of right to privacy to install Arogya Setu App. She added that as the mobile application was initially a ‘voluntary contact tracing application’ which was later modified to allow users to access ‘convenience services in relation to COVID-19′. This indicated that the application might outlive the pandemic, she claims.

Mahajan also sought urgent directions to allow her to enter the regional passport office at Mumbai.