Download Aarogya Setu app, donate to PM CARES: Jharkhand HC’s bizarre conditions for bail

The court granted bail to accused persons in two cases, on the condition that they should download the app after being released from custody

PM Care

In a rather bizarre incident, the Jharkhand High Court has given bail to accused persons in two separate cases, on two conditions, that they should make donations to the PM CARES fund and that they should download the “Aarogya Setu” app. This is bizarre since the condition is completely unrelated to the crimes committed by the accused. One case is of former MP Som Marandi and others who were convicted under the Railways Act for holding a protest on railway tracks in Pakur, Jharkhand. The other case is of a person named Ravi Rai accused of theft.

In both cases, bail has been granted on two conditions as mentioned before. In both cases the accused persons’ counsels have themselves suggested that the accused are ready to deposit a certain sum in the PM CARES fund and the submission has been duly accepted by the court. Both cases have been heard by the single judge bench of Justice Anubha Choudhary who, while accepting the condition of depositing money in the PM CARES fund, added this unusual condition that the accused persons must download the Aarogya Setu app once they have been released from custody.

While it is surprising that downloading the app has become a bail condition, it is not unusual seeing various government offices encouraging people or its employees to download the app, commissioned by the Central government. What is this insistence on downloading the app? Who stands to benefit if a large number of people download this app? Are some of the questions that spring up when such kind of incidents occur.

Sabrang India recently did a report on what the app does and what are its privacy concerns. Basically, the app allows a user to identify any infected person around them, provided both people have downloaded the app. The objective is to help people maintain distance from infected persons, in a bid to curb the spread of the infection. The objective of the app is ‘contact tracing’ which is essential for fighting COVID19 but it would only work if the infected person updated such information on the app, otherwise it just remains to be a surveillance app that constantly tracks an individual’s movement.

The complete judgment can be read here.



Covid-19: Does the Aarogya Setu app violate privacy?

Is Justice Delivery not an Essential Commodity?

Whither Article 15?



Related Articles