The President of India formally enacted the “Digital Personal Data Protection Bill” on 11 August 2023—India’s first-ever privacy Act aimed at safeguarding citizens’ personal data.


Personal data is information that relates to an identified or identifiable individual. Businesses and government entities process personal data to deliver goods and services.  Processing of personal data allows understanding preferences of individuals, which may be useful for customization, targeted advertising, and developing recommendations.   Processing of personal data may also aid law enforcement.  Unchecked processing may have adverse implications for the privacy of individuals, which has been recognized as a fundamental right. It may subject individuals to harm such as financial loss, loss of reputation, and profiling.

India currently does not have a standalone law on data protection. The use of personal data is regulated under the Information Technology (IT) Act, of 2000

 In 2017, the central government constituted a Committee of Experts on Data Protection, chaired by Justice B.  N.  Srikrishna, to examine issues relating to data protection in the country.  

In July 2018, The Committee submitted its report in

December 2019, Based on the recommendations of the Committee, the Personal Data Protection Bill, 2019 was introduced in Lok Sabha in

In December 2021, The Bill was referred to a Joint Parliamentary Committee which submitted its report

In August 2022, the Bill was withdrawn from Parliament.  In November 2022, a Draft Bill was released for public consultation.

In August 2023, the Digital Personal Data Protection Bill, 2023 was introduced in Parliament

Digital Personal Data Protection

Key Features of the Digital Personal Data Protection Act

Applicability:  The Bill applies to the processing of digital personal data within India where such data is: (i) collected online, or (ii) collected offline and is digitised.  It will also apply to the processing of personal data outside India if it is for offering goods or services in India.  Personal data is defined as any data about an individual who is identifiable by or in relation to such data.  Processing has been defined as wholly or partially automated operation or set of operations performed on digital personal data.  It includes collection, storage, use, and sharing.

Rights and duties of data principal:  An individual whose data is being processed (data principal), will have the right to: (i) obtain information about processing, (ii) seek correction and erasure of personal data, (iii) nominate another person to exercise rights in the event of death or incapacity, and (iv) grievance redressal.  Data principals will have certain duties.  They must not: (i) register a false or frivolous complaint, and (ii) furnish any false particulars or impersonate another person in specified cases.  Violation of duties will be punishable with a penalty of up to Rs 10,000.

Consent:  Personal data may be processed only for a lawful purpose after obtaining the consent of the individual.  A notice must be given before seeking consent.  The notice should contain details about the personal data to be collected and the purpose of processing.  Consent may be withdrawn at any point in time.  Consent will not be required for ‘legitimate uses’ including: (i) specified purpose for which data has been provided by an individual voluntarily, (ii) provision of benefit or service by the government, (iii) medical emergency, and (iv) employment.   For individuals below 18 years of age, consent will be provided by the parent or the legal guardian.

Obligations of data fiduciaries:  The entity determining the purpose and means of processing, (data fiduciary), must: (i) make reasonable efforts to ensure the accuracy and completeness of data, (ii) build reasonable security safeguards to prevent a data breach, (iii) inform the Data Protection Board of India and affected persons in the event of a breach, and (iv) erase personal data as soon as the purpose has been met and retention is not necessary for legal purposes (storage limitation).  In the case of government entities, storage limitation and the right of the data principal to erasure will not apply

Transfer of personal data outside India:  The Bill allows transfer of personal data outside India, except to countries restricted by the central government through notification.  

Data Protection Board of India: The central government will establish the Data Protection Board of India.  Key functions of the Board include: (i) monitoring compliance and imposing penalties, (ii) directing data fiduciaries to take necessary measures in the event of a data breach, and (iii) hearing grievances made by affected persons.  Board members will be appointed for two years and will be eligible for re-appointment. The central government will prescribe details such as the number of members of the Board and the selection process.   Appeals against the decisions of the Board will lie with TDSAT.

Exemptions:  Rights of the data principal and obligations of data fiduciaries (except data security) will not apply in specified cases.  These include (i) prevention and investigation of offences, and (ii) enforcement of legal rights or claims.  The central government may, by notification, exempt certain activities from the application of the Bill.  These include (i) processing by government entities in the interest of the security of the state and public order, and (ii) research, archiving, or statistical purposes.

Penalties: The schedule to the Bill specifies penalties for various offences such as up to (i) Rs 200 crore for non-fulfillment of obligations for children, and (ii) Rs 250 crore for failure to take security measures to prevent data breaches.  Penalties will be imposed by the Board after conducting an inquiry.  




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