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Noida residents start legal fight against mandatory use of Aarogya Setu in city

A group of residents in Noida and Greater Noida has submitted a letter before the police commissioner and district magistrate as part of their legal fight against the government order making the Aarogya Setu App mandatory.In a unique order, the government authorities in Gautam Buddh Nagar have asked the residents to download the Aarogya Setu…

A group of residents in Noida and Greater Noida has submitted a letter before the police commissioner and district magistrate as part of their legal fight against the government order making the Aarogya Setu App mandatory.

In a unique order, the government authorities in Gautam Buddh Nagar have asked the residents to download the Aarogya Setu app on their smartphones. As per the order, it is mandatory to have the app on your when venturing outside. If anyone is caught without the app in a public place, she or she will be considered in violation of the coronavirus-forced lockdown and can face a fine of Rs 1,000 or six months of imprisonment.

Ritwick Shrivastava, a lawyer and resident of Greater Noida, is representing the delegation of the residents of Noida and Greater Noida. Ritwick has submitted a legal complaint before the police commissioner and district magistrate asking them to withdraw the order as its illegal.

“The Supreme Court in an order in 2017 gave a judgment that medical details of a person can be sought only with the consent and no one can be forced. When we use Arogya Setu, then it seeks medical details. That’s why the use of this app can be advised but making it mandatory is illegal,” said Ritwick.

If the order is not withdrawn by the authorities, then the group of residents has decided to move the court. The residents are also being supported by Internet Freedom Foundation, a platform that looks into a range of issues including net neutrality, free expression, privacy and innovation.

Apar Gupta, a lawyer who is also fighting against the Noida authorities order said, “The government’s contact tracing app Aarogya Setu literally means a path to health. But those who do not install it now risk being criminally prosecuted. This is through a direction issued by the Ministry of Home Affairs on which more than 45 organisations and 100 individuals have asked for an urgent review.”

On the other hand, few societies have also made it mandatory to download the app else the people are not being allowed entry in the society.

Vishnu Priyadarshan, Secretary of Ashiana Orchid Society in Greater Noida, has informed all the 170 families of the society that if the residents do not download the app then their entry or exit will be barred. “We have instructed security guards to check everyone’s phone if someone is not using the app then they won’t be allowed.”

While few found the app illegal and breach of privacy, others also claim that the Aarogya Setu app helps them stay alert about the nearby Covid-9 patients. Mukul, a resident of Noida uses the app and finds it very useful. “I think the app is good. I have downloaded and I get to know about people who are infected nearby. However, instead of six months of jail, they should only levy penalties on those who are not using it.”

Many residents are also worried about their breach of data. The government claims that the app is safe but many still think that this app will share their private data.

Read | Who is using Aarogya Setu data? Many govt departments fighting coronavirus on the ground are not

Read | How Aarogya Setu works, and how it compares to contact-tracing apps in other countries

Watch | Row over Aarogya Setu app: Govt debunks claim of privacy breach

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