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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.

 

Context:

The Delhi High Court has sought replies from the Centre, Google and India Kanoon on a plea seeking removal of a judgment and an order in connection with a seven-year-old FIR under ‘Right to be Forgotten’, and asked how far this rule can be stretched.

 

Background:

The court was hearing a petition by one Sukhmeet Singh Anand seeking removal of a judgment and an order passed in 2015 and 2018 in connection with an FIR registered against him in 2014 by the Economic Offences Wing.

  • The plea referred to an interim order passed by the High Court in April this year, directing removal of the judgment from the search results regarding the petitioner in that case.

 

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, his or her rights are subject to authorisation by the Adjudicating Officer who works for the DPA.

 

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: the Hindu.