The Kerala High Court on Friday dismissed a petition filed by opposition leader Ramesh Chennithala seeking directions to the police not to collect call detail records (CDRs) of COVID-19 patients and persons likely infected under quarantine.
A division bench of Chief Justice S Mkumar and Justice Shaji P Chaly dismissed the petition after accepting the argument of the Kerala Government.
The state government submitted that the state has been using the tower location details of COVID-19 patients for contact tracing, which is highly essential in arresting the spread of the pandemic and quarantining people who had first hand and primary contact with those affected.
"The contact tracing of an affected person can be best done using the tower location of his mobile phone. The tower dump details are not available in a segregated manner and are only available with the call detail records. The guidelines issued by the Central government in this regard are strictly followed," Kerala Government submitted.
It said that the CDRs are kept strictly confidential and used for the limited purpose of identifying the tower location and added that once the places where the COVID-19 patients visited have been identified, the CDRs are immediately destroyed.
"The CDRs obtained are stored by the police and not by any third party or 'unknown agency' as stated in the writ petition. All possible measures are taken by the police to ensure that the CDRs are not accessed by any third party. The allegation that there was an indiscriminate collection of CDRs of COVID-19 patients was false," the government said.
Congress leader Chennithala, who is also the Leader of the Opposition in the State Assembly, had filed a petition seeking directions to the state police not to collect call detail records of COVID-19 patients from any service provider.
Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan had earlier informed that the police were collecting the CDRs of COVID-19 patients for contact tracing to arrest the spread of viral disease in the state.
Vijayan had, during a press meeting on August 13, rejected the concerns about this move intruding into the privacy of citizens and clarified that there will be no intrusion into the patient's privacy.
( With inputs from ANI )
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