The Karnataka government has informed the High Court it has introduced the 'Suraksha' app and in times of emergency the public can either use this app or call the 112 emergency number.
A public interest litigation by NT Arun Kumar from Nagadevanahalli in Bengaluru had sought directions for pre-installed panic buttons in mobile phones.
The division bench of Chief Justice Prasanna B Varale and Justice Ashok S Kinagri appreciated the government's efforts in developing the Suraksha App and disposed of the petition.
The HC said that it cannot direct the manufacturers to pre-install panic buttons in all mobile phones as it is likely to create a situation where unscrupulous elements, minors, and children may unnecessarily use the panic button depriving help to those really in an emergency.
The Police Department in its affidavit in response to the PIL stated that the app has been developed in addition to the emergency care number 112 that already exists. The app has an SOS button which even allows for recording a 10-second video. The panic button on it allows the person to reach out to friends, relatives, and the police. The app is also disabled-friendly and allows the police to track it through GPS.
The Emergency Response Support System was also upgraded and in 2021, the number of response lines on these was increased from three to six. Currently, the system can handle 118 calls at a time.
The HC said that it was not possible to expect any system to work at 100 per cent efficiency. It directed the authorities to popularise the use of the Suraksha app and take measures to publicise its uses to the public.