Civil society group asks justice Srikrishna to make public the draft Data Protection Bill circulated by the IT ministry
GN Bureau | January 3, 2018
The National Campaign for Peoples' Right to Information (NCPRI) has written to justice BN Srikrishna, head of the the committee of experts examining the data protection framework, voicing concern about the lack of information in the public domain about committee's functioning.
In its letter, the civil society group has brought to notice the lack of information in public domain about the dates of the meetings, the agenda of the meetings and most importantly the minutes of the meetings. When the NCPRI sought (the RTI query attached) the agenda and minutes of the meeting under the right to information law, the ministry of electronics and IT (MEITY), denied giving information, stating, “This information currently is not in public domain”.
"The denial of information is in violation of the RTI Act as there is no legal provision to deny information merely because it is not in the public domain. Information can only be denied if it is exempt under section 8 or 9 of the RTI law. While we are following the formal channels of appeal under the RTI Act, we request you to kindly take steps to ensure that information about the functioning of the committee is placed in the public domain," the NCPRI wrote in its letter.
The civil society organisation, whose members include Aruna Roy, Anjali Bhardwaj, Nikhil Dey and Venkatesh Nayak among others, demanded that the text of the draft Data Protection Bill circulated by MEITY, which is being considered by the committee, should also be made public. "According to a note presented by the Attorney General to the Supreme Court in the ongoing cases related to Aadhaar, it appears that the committee is in possession of and considering a draft Data Protection Bill circulated by MietY. We request you to make public the draft which is being considered by the committee," the NCPRI said.
"Transparency in the functioning of the committee will boost public trust in this pre-legislative mechanism and will encourage people to engage with the issue of data protection," the civil society group urged.
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