While it may no longer be mandatory to use Aarogya Setu for rail and air travel, Anivar Aravind’s battle in Karnataka High Court is not yet over. Earlier today, Senior Advocate Colin Gonsalves, representing Aravind, argued that despite not being mandatory, Aarogya Setu is being mandated across the country. He said that Bangalore Metro had made it mandatory to install the app. He also cited the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare’s June 4 SOP that makes it mandatory for all employees to install and use the app. The division bench constituting Chief Justice Abhay Oka and Justice S. Vishwajith Shetty instructed the petitioner to place the MoHFW SOP on the record while Kumar M.N., on behalf of the central government, asked for two weeks to file a response.
Aravind’s PIL had also asked the court to issue a direction to make Aarogya Setu’s source code open. For the Android version, the code was open sourced on May 26, so the PIL will be amended. The matter will next be heard on July 17 after the amended petition is filed. In the previous order, the division bench granted Aravind leave to apply for amendment to “claim any interim relief in respect of subsequent direction issued by the State Government or the Central Government”.
Aravind is a public interest technologist and part of Delhi-based SFLC.in’s advisory board. He is also being represented by Siddharth Baburao and Ali Zia Kabir.
In the previous hearing on June 12, Additional Solicitor General of India for the Karnataka High Court M.B. Nargund said that Aarogya Setu is not mandatory for air travel. The central government also filed a counter as per which the Ministry of Railways/IRCTC issued revised guidelines that “advised” passengers to download the app, instead of requiring it.