The Central Information Commission (CIC) has pulled up the National e-Governance Division (NeGD), Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY) and National Informatics Centre (NIC) for providing an evasive reply on Aarogya Setu app and issued them show cause notices.
Information Commissioner Vanaja N Sarna, in an interim order on Tuesday, asked the NIC to explain how they do not have any information about the creation of the app “when in the Aarogya Setu website it is mentioned that the platform was designed, developed and hosted by it”.
She has asked the NIC why it has no information about who created the app when its name is on the app’s website.
CIC has passed this interim order on a complaint filed by RTI activist Saurav Das. Das had asked for the copy of the entire file related to the creation of the Aarogya Setu app, including origin of proposal, approval details, companies, people, government departments involved, file notings related to the app, comments on files by various officers among other details, but he was not provided the required information.
Clarification issued on Aarogya Setu App. Aarogya Setu App is a product of Government of India built in collaboration with the best of the minds of Industry & Academia. Worlds largest contact tracing App, appreciated by WHO also. #SetuMeraBodyguard #IndiaFightsCorona pic.twitter.com/mbhQ4pTuZw
— Aarogya Setu (@SetuAarogya) October 28, 2020
CIC has asked why a penalty should not be imposed for “prima facie obstruction of information” and for giving an “evasive reply” to the RTI application.
“The Commission directs the CPIO, NIC to explain… how the website… was created with the domain name gov.in, if they do not have any information about it,” Sarna said in the interim order.
None of the CPIOs were able to explain anything regarding who created the App, where the files are, and the same is extremely preposterous, the CIC pointed out.
The CPIOs of MeitY, NeGD and NIC have been directed to appear on November 24.
A statement issued by MeitY said it is “taking necessary steps to comply with the orders of the CIC”. It said the app has been developed in a “collaborative effort of Government and Private Sector”.