Aarogya Setu is no longer mandatory in Noida, order reversed after legal challenge
- The change in order trickles down from the MHA order issued on May 17 that directs the installation of Aarogya Setu on a “best effort basis”
The Indian government's contact tracing app Aarogya Setu was made mandatory for all Noida and Greater Noida residents with Noida Police mentioning that they would conduct random checks on people out on the road during the lockdown.
Following this order, residents of Noida and Greater Noida submitted a legal challenge against the mandatory imposition of the app two weeks ago. Now, the Gautam Budh Nagar District administration has rolled back the order.
On May 5, residents of Gautam Buddh Nagar district, which includes Noida, Greater Noida and Dadri, led by advocate Ritwik Shrivastav, “submitted a representation to Additional Deputy Commissioner (Law & Order), Ashutosh Dwivedi, challenging the legal basis for making installation of Aarogya Setu mandatory”.
The legal challenge, “facilitated by the Internet Freedom Foundation, had contested the issue of breach of personal liberty and executive overreach”.
There seems to be considerable scale back on the mandatory usage of Aarogya Setu in Uttar Pradesh. As per Page 5 Para 8. The UP order uses the word "encourage/प्रोत्साहन”. @RitwickShri— Internet Freedom Foundation (IFF) (@internetfreedom) May 20, 2020
The current order, issued under Section 144 of the Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC) (issued today), had no mention of the app at all.
Shrivastav, speaking to Quint, described the latest order as “a considerable rollback.”
This is quite a change from the previous order that was issued on May 3, that made the app mandatory and non-installation of Aarogya Setu would be treated as a violation and attract criminal penalties.
The scale-down of the district order comes from the latest MHA guidelines that were issued on May 17. While the May 1 guidelines, the ones for Lockdown 3.0, had ordered a 100% coverage of Aarogya Setu in all containment zones and made the app mandatory for all public and private employees, the May 17 order has scaled down the requirement to ensure that the app is installed on a “best effort basis”.
The MHA guidelines issued on 17 May state, “With a view to ensuring safety in offices and workspaces, employees on best effort basis should ensure that Aarogya Setu is installed by employees having compatible mobile phones.”
On May 18, Uttar Pradesh states' guidelines watered down the order further and Instead of “best effort basis”, the state's order mentions the word “protsaahit” or “encouraged” with respect to downloading the app. And on the other hand, the Gautam Buddh Nagar district's orders on 20 May made no mention of the app at all.
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