NEW DELHI: The Justice BN Srikrishna committee is likely to submit its report on the data protection law to the government on Friday after a long wait.
According to three members of the committee, a “middle ground” has been found on most of the contentious issues and the final draft of the muchawaited report is ready to be submitted.
“In a committee there cannot be a full agreement, there is always middle ground which is taken. There are certain issues of which people will look at all aspects, there are concerns of security, concerns of business, issues of individual privacy etc. Obviously, a balancing Act will be required,” said a member of the committee who did not wish to be identified. The person added that there are no dissenting voices so far. In a previous draft, a few members had posted dissent notes due to difference of opinion over issues pertaining to data localisation, definition of personal and personal sensitive data etc.
The committee, which met on Wednesday, is said to have thrashed out the final recommendations on most of the issues and even discussed them on Thursday over video conferencing.
The committee members will convene once again on Friday and submit their report to the government.
“We are trying to make sure that the report is submitted on Friday itself,” said another member. The government had set up the committee under the chairmanship of retired Supreme Court judge Srikrishna in August last year.
According to reports, the data protection framework will prompt amendments to nearly 70 legislations, including those pertaining to Aadhaar, the Right to Information and Health.
The amendments will be needed as the existing legislations will have to be brought under the new data protection law.
The first official said that the Parliament will have to consider the data protection Bill’s impact on other legislations.
“When we actually looked at this, we did not worry about other things. If there is an impact of this on other things, the Parliament will have to take a call on that.”
The person added that the committee’s role was just to look at a data protection framework and it considered various aspects such as best practices from other countries, data related to our country, etc before giving the report.
Talking about whether aspects pertaining to law enforcement agencies and surveillance will be part of the Bill, the person said all the aspects have been considered.
“Privacy is one aspect while security is the other, and all of these things were actually looked at. They were deliberated upon and we have found — I would not say a solution — but a reasonable solution.”
The member added that for instance under the Telegraph Act, ruling and mechanism of telephone tapping are considered.
“Similar kind of mechanism we have to worry about in data protection also.” The member added that Bill has steered clear of focusing on any particular products and has tried to make the Bill futuristic, given the rapid change in technology.
Telecom secretary Aruna Sundararajan, Unique Identification Authority of India CEO Ajay Bhushan Pandey, National Cyber Security coordinator Gulshan Rai and Vidhi Centre for Legal Policy research director Arghya Sengupta are other members of the committee along with Gopalakrishnan S, joint secretary, Ministry of Electronics and IT.
The government had earlier expected the committee to submit its report by June end. The other members of the committee will include Ajay Kumar, additional secretary, MeitY, Rama Vedashree, CEO of Data Security Council of India, Rishikesha T Krishnan, director of IIM, Indore and Rajat Moona, director of IIT, Raipur.