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Personal Data Protection (PDP) Bill

  • IAS NEXT, Lucknow
  • 23, Nov 2021
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At least five of the 30 members of the Joint Parliamentary Committee on the Personal Data Protection (PDP) Bill are expected to move dissent (disagreement with official opinions) notes to the panel’s report on the legislation. 

  • These notes were mostly directed at the controversial clause that allowed the Union Government to exempt any agency under its purview from the law.

About Personal Data Protection (PDP) Law

  • The law is a comprehensive piece of legislation that seeks to give individuals greater control over how their personal data is collected, stored and used. 
  • The Bill also establishes a Data Protection Authority for the same.

Genesis of the Bill 

  • The genesis of this Bill lies in the report prepared by a Committee of Experts headed by Justice B.N. Srikrishna.
  • The committee was constituted by the government in the course of hearings before the Supreme Court in the right to privacy case (Justice K.S. Puttaswamy v. Union of India).

Contentious section 35

  • Section 35, which invokes “sovereignty and integrity of India,” “public order”, “friendly relations with foreign states” and “security of the state” to give powers to the Central government to suspend all or any of the provisions of this Act for government agencies.
  • This clause assumes importance against the backdrop of recent revelations in the Pegasus spyware case, where both private and public citizens were allegedly snooped upon by the Government.
  • The panel reached a middle path on the clause by agreeing that the Government had to record in writing the reasons to give exemption to any agency. 
  • Demands that this clause be suitably amended so as to include the provision to seek approval from Parliament for seeking such exemptions were not accepted by the Government.