The Delhi High Court has issued Notice to Central Government seeking direction to immediately de-link the ‘Aarogya Setu’ app from a website that promotes and acts as a marketing tool for e-pharmacies only.
A single-judge bench of Justice Jayant Nath issued notice to Centre and sought its reply before next date of hearing May 29.
The petition filed seeking direction to immediately de-link the website “http://www.aarogyasetumitr.in” from the official mobile application “Aarogya setu” because in a highly illegal, arbitrary and discriminatory manner the website “http://www.aarogyasetumitr.in” promotes and acts as a marketing tool for e-pharmacies only (which are illegal under the law and continue to operate despite an injunction order passed by this Hon’ble Court).
Its submitted in the petition that there is absolutely no basis for a government owned platform be used to promote private commercial ventures.
“The petition seeks direction to take all steps to ensure that the name “aarogya setu” or any identical/deceptively similar name is not mis-used to sponsor the commercial interests of arbitrarily hand picked entities; and to direct immediate closure of the website “http://www.aarogyasetumitr.in.” It is submitted that Respondents cannot act in an arbitrary, whimsical, unfair and discriminatory to allow the goodwill and recognition generated by the government owned mobile application, to be used for the commercial benefit of selected few entities, in complete violation of principles of equality and reasonableness,” said the Petition.
It said, “the mobile application “Aarogya setu,” which has been launched with a salient feature of limiting the spread of COVID – 19 disease, and has been mandatory by virtue of the order dated 01.05.2020 issued by the Secretary, Ministry of Home affairs in exercise of powers conferred under Section 10(2)(l) of the Disaster Management Act, 2005, to be used for the benefit of a selected handpicked companies. The mobile application “Aarogya setu,” itself gives a link to website http://www.aarogyasetumitr.in, which gives a wrong and misleading impression to a user that the website as well as the information made available on it is also government mandated and approved.”
Further, it contended that the homepage of the website http://www.aarogyasetumitr.in. states as follows: “Here are some essential healthcare services you can avail from the safety and comfort of your home.” The homepage then lists only the e-pharmacies. There is no mention that medicines can also be procured by the local pharmacy stores which operate offline. It is submitted that the Respondents cannot be allowed to mislead the users of a government developed and mandated mobile application to believe that the drugs for treatment of COVID – 19 or to contain the spread of the disease are available only through the e- pharmacies.
It is submitted that the very similarity in the names of the mobile application and the website is intentional. The website http://www.aarogyasetumitr.in seeks to take advantage of the name and goodwill which has been generated by the mobile application “Aarogya setu,” even though the website is not government owned and solely promotes vested interests.
“The criteria that to get listed as a vendor on the website http://www.aarogyasetumitr.in, the entity should be an e-pharmacy is arbitrary, without any intelligible differentia, wholly illegal, discriminatory and in violation of Article 14, 19 and 21 of the Constitution of India,” said the plea.
-India Legal Bureau