NEW DELHI: Amid the raging controversy over alleged snooping, the Centre said it is giving the final touches to the Right to Privacy Bill, 2014, which aims at protecting individuals against misuse of data by government or private agencies.
Sources said the Ministry of Personnel has sought comments from all the stakeholders and a meeting to discuss the observations of various ministries on the draft Bill is likely to be held this week. The Centre is hopeful that certain vexatious issues related to interception by the intelligence agencies and row over extending the Right to Privacy legislation to all residents of the country will be resolved during the discussion. The draft Bill has clearly stated that the “right to privacy is part of the right of a person under Article 21 of the Constitution and no person can disclose the sensitive personal data without the prior consent of the data subject (person whose data is collected).”
“The Ministry of Personnel is mulling to review certain clauses, which put Intelligence agencies under the scrutiny of competent court. The ministry is also examining whether the ‘Right to Privacy’ legislation should be applicable to Indian citizens only and not all residents of the country,” sources said.
Though, the draft Bill, 2014, has maintained the enhanced penalty clause of `2 crore against a person or agency involved in illegally intercepting communication, it will exempt the intelligence and law enforcement agencies from its purview, but with certain riders. `50 lakh penalty has been envisaged in the Bill if any government official or employee of a telecom service provider is found guilty of disclosing the prohibited personal data. A penalty of `50 lakh will be imposed in case data is obtained on false pretext.
The penalty for stealing personal data has been enhanced to `10 lakh for the first attempt and `20 lakh in case of a repeat offence.
The new draft Bill will have a special clause exempting the intelligence agencies from the scrutiny of Data Protection Authority (DPA). However, a competent court can put the action of the intelligence agencies under scrutiny.