Central retail store denying entry to customers, challenges state government’s laws

Central, the multiple brand store in Hazratganj, Lucknow asked customers for their personal information claiming that the police station had mandated the rule on them. However, the local police station refuted such claims. 

Recently, in a Central retail outlet located in the Saharaganj mall at Hazratganj, Lucknow, a customer (journalist) was not allowed inside the store as he had refused to give his personal information to the management of the store. When the customer asked Amit Agarwal, concerned authority of the store, about the reason for sharing his mobile number with them. The store told him that the local police station had mandated them to acquire the information from the customers. 

However, it was found that the store did not have any written document related to the “new law” and everything was only told verbally to them by the police. When questioned by the customer, they had no concrete statements and also asked for the identification of the customer. 

Central Store (Oberoi Mall), Goregaon East - Jewellery Showrooms in Mumbai  - Justdial
photo credits0 Google images

According to the law, all the restaurants, holy places, hotels and shopping malls had been permitted to resume operations but are required to maintain and adhere to the Standard Operating Procedures of coronavirus pandemic such as practising social distancing, wearing masks and using sanitizers at regular intervals. It can be believed that they were asking for personal information with an intention of misusing it. 

When the Aarogya Setu app is already in place in which individuals register through their mobile numbers, why is the store asking for the personal details of the customers? It is a breach of personal information. 

There are several instances of the misuse of personal information such as phone numbers. On October 5, 2020, the RJD had accused Nitish Kumar, Chief Minister of Bihar for conspiring against Tejaswini Yadav. A member of the RJD has given a phone number which was reportedly used to extort money from many party candidates of the upcoming Assembly elections. Additionally, the phone number was not registered in the state’s telecom registry. The phone number, “0612-2217222” was the BSNL number which was used criminally in the name of Tejaswini Yadav to demand money from RJD’s candidates. 

As a result, the Lucknow customer was not permitted entry into the outlet as he did not give the personal details. Later, when the Maverick correspondent contacted the Hazratganj police station. The inspector informed the correspondent that they had not directed the store or any other store in that matter to acquire the contact details of the customers as it is their personal information. 

Although they have the authority to collect the contact details in COVID-19 emergency, they have the rule in a written document. Since the Central store did not show any document when asked, it can be implied that they were asking for the contact details for some other purpose and not for the COVID emergencies. 

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