NEW DELHI: After vociferous protests by the Opposition, the government on Wednesday sent the Data Protection Bill to a joint select committee of Parliament. Opposition members Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury of the Congress, and Saugata Roy and Mohua Moitra of the TMC spoke against the Bill, demanding that it be examined by a standing committee. Introducing the Bill in the Lower House of Parliament, Union Electronic and IT Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad rejected the Opposition’s objection saying “by this data protection, they (govt) are safeguarding the rights of Indians”.
“As per the architecture of the Bill, if data is taken without consent of the individual, you will suffer a penalty,” Prasad said. “If you misuse the data beyond the permissible consent, you will suffer consequences. And we have specified penalty of crores of rupees on all the persons. Therefore, by this data protection, they are safeguarding the rights of Indians.”
Following the Opposition demand, Prasad moved a resolution and said the Bill may be referred to a joint committee of the House. The resolution was passed by voice vote. The panel will have 20 members from the Lok Sabha and 10 from the Rajya Sabha.
The Bill is under scrutiny of activists and opposition parties after it came to light that its latest version seeks to allow the use of personal and non-personal data of users in some cases, especially when national security is involved. Several legal experts and activists have expressed concern saying the provision will give the government unaccounted access to personal data of users in the country.