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Delhi High Court observations on the ‘Right to be Forgotten’

GS Paper 2

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

 

Context:

Last week, the Delhi High Court upheld the view that the “Right to Privacy” includes the “Right to be Forgotten” and the “Right to be Left Alone”.

  • The court said this in an order passed in response to a suit filed by an unnamed Bengali actor.

 

Background:

Earlier in July, Ashutosh Kaushik who won reality TV shows Bigg Boss in 2008 and MTV Roadies 5.0 approached the Delhi High Court with a plea saying that his videos, photographs and articles etc. be removed from the internet citing his “Right to be Forgotten”.

 

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, which is governed by the Personal Data Protection Bill that is yet to be passed by Parliament.
  • In 2017, the Right to Privacy was declared a fundamental right (under Article 21) by the Supreme Court in its landmark verdict (Puttuswamy case).
  • The court said at the time that “the right to privacy is protected as an intrinsic part of the right to life and personal liberty under Article 21 and as a part of the freedoms guaranteed by Part III of the Constitution”.

 

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:

On one hand, Article 21 paves the way for the right to be forgotten to be read into the Constitution, on the other hand, Article 19 stands as a hindrance. How? Reference

 

InstaLinks:

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: Indian Express.