Centre constitutes new panel under former SC judge to prepare draft data protection law
The Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) informed a nine-judge Bench of the Supreme Court that the Centre has constituted a committee led by Justice B.N Srikrishna (former Supreme Court judge), to identify key data protection issues and formulate a draft data protection Bill.
The formulation of a committee highlights the need for a comprehensive law on data protection in the country. Focus of the government is to frame overarching principles of data protection.
The need to ensure growth of the digital economy while keeping personal data of citizens secure is the basis of the move.
Whether privacy is a fundamental right:
- UIDAI the nodal agency for implementation of Aadhaar stated in the court,
- Privacy is not a fundamental right, it is subjective and dependent on human behavior
- Any attempt by the court to give it the status of a fundamental right would damage the nation and stymie the government's efforts for good governance
- Justice Nariman, one of the judge part of the bench stated,
- That privacy can indeed be read into the Constitution as a fundamental right as India is part of the United National Declaration of Human Rights, which declares privacy as an inalienable human right
- Additional Solicitor General Tushar Mehta submitted in the court,
- A new fundamental right like privacy cannot be inserted into the Constitution as it would require legislative deliberations. He also advised the court against expanding the existing fundamental rights to interpret and include the right to privacy
- The government expects to frame a data protection Bill similar to the "technology-neutral" draft Privacy Bill submitted by an earlier expert committee headed by former Delhi High Court Chief Justice A.P. Shah
- The Aadhaar statute will take care of privacy violations and elevating privacy to a fundamental right will hinder governance