New Delhi | Jagran News Desk: Joint Parliamentary Committee on Personal Data Protection Bill adopted on Monday the report on Personal Data Protection Bill, 2019 upon which it deliberated for over a year. However, a number of opposition members sent out dissenting notes to the committee as they believed that the proposed law will give unregulated power to the Union government through the clauses concerning public order and national security.

The Bill was drafted after Supreme Court ruled the 'Right to Privacy' a fundamental right in August 2017.

What is Data Protection Bill, 2019?

The bill seeks to regulate personal data processing and will ensure that social media companies dealing with private data follow guidelines specified in the bill in accordance to the Right to Privacy principle. The government, thus, aims to uphold the Right to Privacy, as underlined by Supreme Court, with the passage of this bill in the parliament.

The bill in its text aims to provide for protection of the privacy of individuals relating to their personal data, specify the flow and usage of personal data, create a relationship of trust between persons and entities processing the personal data, protect the rights of individuals whose personal data are processed to create a framework for organisational and technical measures in processing of data, laying down norms for social media intermediary, cross-border transfer, accountability of entities processing personal data, remedies for unauthorised and harmful processing, and to establish a Data Protection Authority of India for the said purposes and for matters connected therewith or incidental thereto.

Data Protection Bill: What the controversy is all about?

The opposition Members of Parliament have argued that the design of Personal Data Protection Bill, 2019 assumes that the constitutional right to privacy arises only where operations and activities of private companies are concerned whereas Government and government agencies have been treated as a “separate privileged class”, whose operations and activities are “always in public interest and individual privacy considerations are secondary”.

According to a note of dissent tweeted out by Congress MP Jairam Ramesh, he had suggested that the government or government agencies must take “parliamentary approval” before exempting themselves from the purview of the law but this was not considered.

Personal Data Protection Bill, 2019: When the state can utilise private data without consent?

As per the proposed law, the state can utilise individuals’ private data without their consent under the following conditions:

1. To undertake any measure to ensure safety of or provide assistance or services to any individual during an epidemic, outbreak of disease or any other threat to public health.
2. To undertake any measure to ensure safety of, or provide assistance or services to, any individual during any disaster or any breakdown of public order.
3. For provision of any service or benefit to the data principal from the State; the issuance of any certification, license or permit for any action or activity of the data principal by the State.
4. Under any law for the time being in force made by the Parliament or any State Legislature.
5. For compliance with any order or judgment of any Court or Tribunal in India.
6. To respond to any medical emergency involving a threat to the life or a severe threat to the health of the data principal or any other individual.

Posted By: Mukul Sharma