On August 03, 2022, the Data Protection Bill, 2021 was withdrawn, after 4 years of deliberation and consultation. Concerned by the impact and consequence this move will have on the digital rights of individuals, we wrote to the Minister of Electronics and IT expressing our concerns.
It has been close to 10 years since the Justice A.P. Shah Committee Report on Privacy, 5 years since the Right to Privacy verdict in Justice K.S. Puttaswamy vs. Union of India [AIR 2017 SC 4161], and 4 years since Justice B.N. Srikrishna Committee’s report — all of which signal urgency for a data protection law and surveillance reforms (Read our brief of the issues with the DPB, 2021 here). Thus the long as well as arduous consultation and review process makes the withdrawal of the DPB, 2021 extremely concerning.
Several news reports (see here, here, and here) have indicated that the Ministry aims at bringing out a new bill that “fits into the comprehensive legal framework” which may include provisions on personal data protection, cybersecurity, a framework governing non-personal data and the new Information Technology Act.
Given the significance and urgency of such a law in India, we urged the Ministry Electronics and Information Technology (“MeitY”) to adopt a rights-centric approach while framing the new comprehensive legal framework, aimed at safeguarding citizens’ personal data. Among other things, we expressed our hope for an open, transparent and fair process in drafting the framework.