Rs 500 cr fine for personal data breach in new Bill

| | New Delhi
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Rs 500 cr fine for personal data breach in new Bill

Saturday, 19 November 2022 | Pioneer News Service | New Delhi

The Government on Friday came out with the draft Digital Personal Data Protection Bill, 2022, that seeks to impose a huge penalty for breach of personal data

safety.   “Seeking your views on draft Digital Personal Data Protection Bill, 2022,” said Union Minister for Railways, Communications, Electronics and Information Technology Ashwini Vaishnaw in a tweet.

The Bill was first introduced in Lok Sabha in December 2019 and referred to the JPC. The JPC placed its report in Lok Sabha on December 16, 2021, proposing a single law for dealing with both personal and non-personal datasets.

While withdrawing the bill in the Monsoon Session this year, Vaishnaw pointed out that the JPC recommended 81 amendments in a Bill of 99 sections. “Above that it made 12 major recommendations. Therefore, the Bill has been withdrawn and a new bill will be presented for public consultation,” he had said.

While the draft personal data protection Bill, issued in 2019 had proposed a penalty of `15 crore or 4 per cent of the global turnover of an entity, the present Bill has raised that amount to `500 cr.

“The purpose of this Bill is to provide for the processing of digital personal data in a manner that recognises the right of individuals to protect their personal data, the need to process personal data for lawful purposes and for other incidental purposes,” an explanatory note of the draft Bill said.

The draft proposes to set up a Data Protection Board of India, which will carry on functions as per the provisions of the Bill.

                “If the board determines at the conclusion of an inquiry that non-compliance by a person is significant, it may, after giving the person a reasonable opportunity of being heard, impose such a financial penalty as specified in Schedule 1, not exceeding `500 crore in each instance,” the draft said.

It has proposed a graded penalty system for data fiduciaries that will process the personal data of data owners only in accordance with the provisions of the Act. The same set of penalties will be applicable to the data processor -- which will be an entity that will process data on behalf of the Data Fiduciary.


The draft has proposed a penalty of up to Rs 250 crore in case the data fiduciary or data processor fails to protect against personal data breaches in its possession or under its control.

The draft has also proposed a penalty of Rs 200 crore in case the data fiduciary or data processor fails to inform the board and data owner about the data breach.

The bill has a provision to allow entities to transfer the personal data of a citizen outside the country in cases where the processing of personal data is necessary for enforcing any legal right or claim, the performance of any judicial or quasi-judicial function, investigation or prosecution of any offence or data owner is not within the territory of India and has entered into any contract with any person outside the country.

“The Central Government may, after an assessment of such factors as it may consider necessary, notify such countries or territories outside India to which a Data Fiduciary may transfer personal data,” according to the draft.

The explanatory issued by the Ministry of Electronics and IT listed seven principles on which the bill is based.      This includes the usage of personal data by organisations must be done in a manner that is lawful, fair to the individuals concerned and transparent to individuals and personal data is used for the purposes for which it was collected.

The draft has a provision to ensure that only those items of personal data required for attaining a specific purpose must be collected and it must be stored perpetually by default.

“The Digital Personal Data Protection Bill is a legislation that frames out the rights and duties of the citizen (Digital Nagrik) on one hand and the obligations to use collected data lawfully of the Data Fiduciary on the other hand,” the explanatory note said.   The draft is open for public comment till December 17

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