Delhi District Court- To deal with COVID-19, certain court complexes have made the use of Aarogya Setu mandatory to secure entry in their premises.
Delhi District Court- To deal with COVID-19, certain court complexes have made the use of Aarogya Setu mandatory to secure entry in their premises.
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Mandatory use of Aarogya Setu to enter district court: Representation to be made to Delhi High Court Chief Justice

A statement against the mandatory use of Aarogya Setu is being floated online by Advocate Mansi Sood and Internet Freedom Foundation.

Aditi Singh

A representation will soon be made to the Chief Justice of Delhi High Court against the mandatory use of Aarogya Setu in certain court complexes in the city.

Floated by Delhi-based Advocate Mansi Sood and Internet Freedom Foundation, a statement is available online to enable individuals and organizations to lend their support to the cause.

As per the Protocol/Notification issued by Saket Court Complex (South and South-East District) and Dwarka Court Court Complex (South West District) with respect to their functioning amid COVID-19 pandemic, the use of Aarogya Setu App is mandatory.

As per District and Sessions Judge, Saket,

All persons visiting the Court Complex for this purpose shall maintain physical distancing norms, wear masks, sanitize their hands, take all necessary precautions and comply with all official guidelines regarding the Covid-19 pandemic and must have Arogya Setu Application downloaded on their phones.

While directing that at least, one member of Court staff shall be present in the court complex on daily basis during the working hours, District and Sessions Judge, Dwarka, has ordered that court staff should strictly adhere to the social distancing norms and download and install the Aarogya Setu App on their mobile phones.

In response to these mandatory conditions, Sood and IFF seek the Chief Justice's intervention to bring about a standardized Standard Operating Procedure which does not make the use of Aarogya Setu app mandatory for any physical filing or securing entry into any judicial or court complexes in Delhi.

Concerns raised against the use of Aarogya Setu app are as follows:

- Aarogya Setu app is only accessible on a smartphone, thereby excluding a significant number of advocates, clerks and litigants who do not possess such phones.

- Mandating the use of Aarogya Setu for entry into court complexes exacerbates the suffering of those who do not possess such phones and prevents them from accessing the means of justice and their livelihood.

- Aarogya Setu app continues to suffer from serious concerns of data security, privacy and lack of transparency.

- The usage of Aarogya Setu app in judicial establishments, including advocate chambers, poses a serious threat to advocate-client confidentiality as it collects sensitive personal data such as the location of persons.

- As per MHA guidelines dated June 29, 2020, the usage of Aarogya Setu is to be made on a “best-effort basis” and the authorities “may advise” its installation and use by individuals.

In view of the above, it is pleaded that making the use of this mobile application a precondition for entry into judicial complexes is unnecessary and dangerous.

In April 2020, the Delhi High Court had issued also circular on the use of Aarogya Setu by its officials, "requesting" them to download, install and use the same in view of the pandemic.

The statement can be signed here.

This statement is open for endorsement till 12 noon on Wednesday, 29 July 2020.

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