TheMinistry of Electronics and Information Technology (MEITY) and the National Informatics Centre (NIC) were at the receiving end of the Central Information Commission (CIC), which expressed shock at how both the government agencies claimed to have no information on how the Aarogya Setu App was created.
India’s information watchdog issued a notice to the information officers of MEITY, NIC and National E-Governance Division (NeGD), asking them to reply why penalties should not be levied against them under the RTI Act.
Hearing a plea by independent journalist Saurav Das, the CIC observed that it was extremely preposterous that MEITY and NIC had no information on movement of files while creating the contact tracing app.
Das argued that he filed an application under RTI to secure details about who created the Aarogya Setu app, the process for consultation and development of the app, and the observations and file notings as per government records.
As the government agencies did not share any information regarding the portal or the app with the RTI applicant, he moved the CIC which is an appellate body on RTI Act that empowers Indian nationals to seek information from government departments and public agencies.
Moreover, the CIC asked the NIC to explain how it claims to have no information when the website of the app operates with a gov.in domain name.
The CIC observed that the app clearly stated, “Content [is] owned, updated and maintained by the MyGov, MEITY.” CIC also noted that the app claimed, “Aarogya Setu Platform is designed, developed and hosted by National Informatics Centre, Ministry of Electronics & Information Technology and Government of India.”
The order suggested that the app is being used by the masses and breach of privacy cannot be completely ruled out. The order reprimanded the government, observing that that MEITY and NIC cannot wash their hands off by not replying to the petitioner.