personal data protection bill, withdrawn by government, justice bn srikrishna, justice srikrishna, criticisms against bill
The Personal Data Protection Bill, 2019 –withdrawn by the government on Wednesday – was drafted by a committee led by retired Supreme Court judge, Justice BN Srikrishna, after a year-long consultation process. The government must have thought it was better to withdraw the Bill since it had gone through a series of changes at multiple levels from the time it was first drafted, Justice Srikrishna told ET’s Suraksha P in an exclusive interview. Edited excerpts:
Your view on the government withdrawing the personal data protection Bill?
Well, this means they do not want to pass the Bill and think about it. There have been all kinds of objections. The government probably thought it was wiser to withdraw the Bill now and rethink the entire Bill and come out with a new one with proper provisions.
Do you agree with the criticisms against the Bill?
Yes. I have given feedback, too. I have pointed out a whole number of flaws in the Bill. Apparently, they are rethinking these points.
It is believed the current version of the Bill does not comprehensively address the changing technology landscape and there have been concerns about treating social media platforms as publishers. What do you think of the compliance requirements?
The bottom line is that they are not in a position to pass a law to deal with the protection of personal data of citizens of India. So, we should wait and watch on what other factors they will consider as and when they do it (referring to the comprehensive legal framework that the government says it is working on).
What was the consideration when the Bill was first mooted in 2017?
The Bill was drafted after considering various issues. Now, the government is looking at some other issues that I am not personally aware of. At every stage, there has been a change. Between 2018 and 2019, there were a lot of changes. In 2019 also, it did not go through, it went to the Joint Committee of Parliament. JCP also made a number of recommendations which they considered and tried to include. It is a political decision. There is no question of me agreeing with it or not.

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