New Data Protection Bill Is Ready, To Be Tabled In Monsoon Session Of Parliament

New Data Protection Bill Is Ready, To Be Tabled In Monsoon Session Of Parliament

by Swarajya Staff - Tuesday, April 11, 2023 06:25 PM IST
New Data Protection Bill Is Ready, To Be Tabled In Monsoon Session Of ParliamentData protection and privacy is essential.

The Union government will introduce the Digital Personal Data Protection Bill during the Monsoon Session of Parliament in July this year, the Centre told the Supreme Court on Tuesday (11 April).

"The Bill is ready, it just has to be introduced in parliament in the monsoon session at the end of June, July," said Attorney General R Venkatramani, appearing for the Centre.

A five-judge Constitution bench, thus, scheduled a hearing for August.

"So, it will be under consideration if we list in July... August will be most practical," the bench responded.

"Considering the circumstances, the matter is to be placed before the Chief Justice of India for a bench to be constituted preferably in the first week of August," the bench stated in its order.

The petitioners' counsels urged an early listing of the case in the top court since the bill has been pending in Parliament for too long.

"Consultation is a long process... We want a good law to come," the Attorney General replied.

The bench was hearing pleas from two students, who claimed that WhatsApp's 2021 Privacy Policy, allowing the sharing of user data with parent company Facebook and other entities, breached their privacy and free speech rights.

Karmanya Singh Sareen and Shreya Sethi are challenging the contract entered into between the two companies to provide access to calls, photographs, texts, videos, and documents shared by users.

In 2022, the Supreme Court gave the government two options: present a bill to Parliament that tackles privacy and WhatsApp's standards, or the final hearing will commence in the case.

The Centre had said earlier that Indian users should not face discrimination by other WhatsApp users. They assured the top court that they had withdrawn the old Data Protection Bill and will introduce a new one in Parliament.

Petitioners' advocate, Shyam Divan, argued that Indian users are denied their fundamental rights and that the platform's privacy standards in other countries, particularly the European Union, are superior to those in India.

Senior advocate Kapil Sibal, appearing for WhatsApp, informed the court that the company abides by the laws of India, while the European countries have their own set of laws.

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