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Amid Opposition Walkout, Parliament’s IT Committee Adopts Report on Data Protection Bill – News18

Amid Opposition Walkout, Parliament’s IT Committee Adopts Report on Data Protection Bill – News18


This bill has been listed by the government for passage in the ongoing monsoon session of Parliament. (File image/ PTI)

Congress’s Karti Chidambaram, Trinamool Congress’s Mahua Moitra and Jawahar Sircar, Communist Party of India’s John Brittas, and Telugu Desam Party’s Galla Jayadev were among those who walked out of the meeting of the Parliament’s standing committee for communication and information technology

At least six opposition MPs staged a walkout from a meeting of the Parliament’s standing committee for communication and information technology after the panel led by Shiv Sena lawmaker Prataprao Jadhav adopted the draft report for the Digital Personal Data Protection Bill. Among the MPs who left were Congress’s Karti Chidambaram, Trinamool Congress’s Mahua Moitra and Jawahar Sircar, Communist Party of India’s John Brittas, and Telugu Desam Party’s Galla Jayadev.

Apart from Jadhav, Bharatiya Janata Party’s Nishikant Dubey and Dr Anil Agarwal pushed for the adoption of the Bill.

Brittas also gave a dissent note on the matter, saying that many questions remain unanswered including why the proposed legislation allows the union government to provide blanket exemptions to its selected agencies. He also asked how it would not lead to violations of the fundamental right to privacy.

The dissent note further said that the bill provides for financial penalties rather than criminal liability against deliberate misuse of data by the fiduciaries, which are mainly big corporates.

“How can we adopt a bill when we have not even been given a chance to examine its final and latest version?” an opposition MP said to News18.

“The government was destroying the watchdog body Data Protection Board by packing it with its own men rather than from judiciary and competent authorities. Temporary consent to use personal data (of illness, etc) given to a data fiduciary cannot be shared with others without my consent. The government is not guaranteeing this,” another MP said.

Those present in the meeting told News18 that there was vehement opposition by Brittas, Chidambaram, and Mitra to this move to adopt the report.

“The government is desperate to control our personal data to spy on us instead of protecting it,” another opposition MP told News18.

“We have passed both the bills with the majority of the committee. The opposition boycotted under Rule 261 of Lok Sabha,” BJP MP Nishikant Dubey has tweeted.

Sources say that the report adopted on Thursday says that no legislation could be perfect and that they evolve over time.

“The committee, therefore, urges that the provisions that cannot be fully defined within the scope of the bill can be addressed through rules prescribed under the bill which are subsequently presented to Parliament,” sources said.

With over 21,000 suggestions, consultations with 88 organisations, DPDPB was approved by the Narendra Modi-led government in its cabinet meeting on July 5. This bill has been listed by the government for passage in the ongoing monsoon session of Parliament.

The bill is committed to protecting the data of Indian consumers, say sources, adding that, however, at any point, it’ll be difficult to classify data as simple and sensitive or vice versa and therefore this legislation is being brought keeping the principles in focus. However, a number of issues and situations have been earmarked during which no prior consent would be required for seeking data. The situations could be a case of war, a medical emergency, or details required by a law-enforcing agency, to name a few.

The new bill, if passed by Parliament, would replace the current Information Technology (Reasonable Security Practices and Procedures and Sensitive Personal Data or Information) Rules, which was notified in 2011.



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