Implement Aarogya Setu, but only through law-THE HINDU-21-04-2020


The threat of COVID-19, however, will continue. This will lead to a fundamental transformation in the role of the state in regulating society. Heightened epidemic surveillance by the government could lead to an increased risk of institutionalised surveillance of individuals.

The unconstitutional bargain:

A seemingly benign app based on voluntary consent is thus loaded with potential to be used as a tool to violate fundamental rights. Individuals may be forced to download the app to be able to access basic amenities and services. Further, the existing users of the app could be subject to arbitrary restrictions in their fundamental rights without their informed consent as they would not have foreseen such restrictions at the time of giving their consent to downloading the app. The situation bears resemblance to Aadhaar.

Originally designed as an optional programme to provide government benefits to citizens based on their voluntary consent, Aadhaar was later made compulsory, even for private services such as banking and mobile phone registrations. Enacting such a law will not only subject government actions to limitations but will also facilitate its constitutional scrutiny.

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