A week after making Aarogya Setu mandatory for all students and employees, Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) has revised its instructions: the app is now voluntary. Students and employees can now install it on a “best efforts basis” on compatible phones, when the university reopens on November 2. The heads of departments, deans, chairpersons, etc. may choose to advise people to install the app but they cannot mandate it, the revised instructions said. Live Law first tweeted about it.

The central university had first made the app mandatory through a notification on October 21. The revised instruction is now more in line with the Home Ministry’s guidelines from May 17 that made the app voluntary. Earlier, the varsity had said that people who have an “unsafe status” on the app will not be allowed to enter the university and would be “liable for disciplinary action” if they failed to adhere to the instructions.

On October 19, the Karnataka High Court ordered that no central and state government agencies could deny benefits to a citizen if they do not have the app installed. JNU is a central, publicly-funded university.

JNU had 8,805 total enrolled students in the academic year 2019-20 of which nearly 6,000 resided in JNU hostels, as per data available on the university website. 118 students from economically weaker section (EWS) were also enrolled in the university. In academic year 2018-19, it had 567 teachers and 1,006 non-teaching staff as of October 31, 2019.

JNU will reopen in a phased manner. From November 2, only doctoral students and project staff, who are day scholars and need access to the laboratories or need to submit their doctoral theses by December 31, 2020 or June 20, 2021 will be allowed. Thereafter, from November 16, final year doctoral students and project staff who reside in hostels will be allowed to enter the campus, provided that phase one is successfully implemented.