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Right to be forgotten:

GS Paper 2

Topics Covered: Indian Constitution- historical underpinnings, evolution, features, amendments, significant provisions and basic structure.



The Delhi High Court has asked the Centre and search engine giant Google to respond to a petition by two businessmen, who have invoked the “right to be forgotten”, and sought the removal of certain articles relating to a criminal case lodged against them, from various online platforms.

  • The petitioners said they have the “right to be forgotten” or a “right to delink” in the context of the facts and circumstances of the case.


Need for:

The petition argued that they “had been honourably discharged by the competent courts, yet the alleged articles and wrong information available online against petitioners continue to haunt them”.


What is the ‘Right to be Forgotten’ in the Indian context?

  • The Right to be Forgotten falls under the purview of an individual’s right to privacy.
  • In 2017, the Right to Privacy was declared a fundamental right (under Article 21) by the Supreme Court in its landmark verdict (Puttuswamy case).



What does the Personal Data Protection Bill say about this?

Right to privacy is also governed by the Personal Data Protection Bill that is yet to be passed by Parliament.

The bill exclusively talks about the “Right to be Forgotten.”

  • Broadly, under the Right to be forgotten, users can de-link, limit, delete or correct the disclosure of their personal information held by data fiduciaries.


But, what are the issues associated with this provision in the Bill?

The main issue with the provision is that the sensitivity of the personal data and information cannot be determined independently by the person concerned, but will be overseen by the Data Protection Authority (DPA).

  • This means that while the draft bill gives some provisions under which a user can seek that his data be removed, but his or her rights are subject to authorisation by the Adjudicating Officer who works for the DPA.


Insta Curious:

Did you know that the right to be forgotten is also known as the right to erasure? Read what EU laws say on this.



Prelims Link:

  1. About the Right to be forgotten.
  2. What is right to privacy?
  3. Highlights of Personal Data Protection Bill.

Mains Link:

Discuss the significance of the right to be forgotten.

Sources: the Hindu.