The government on Friday said that in case of conflict between matters related to Right to Privacy and Right to Information (RTI), the fundamental right will prevail.

Speaking at an open house discussion with stakeholders, on the draft Digital Personal Data Protection Bill 2022 (DPDP), Rajeev Chandrasekhar, Minister of State for Electronics & Information Technology and Skill Development & Entrepreneurship said, “Right to Privacy is a fundamental right and Right to Information is not. If there is a conflict between the two, the fundamental right prevails.”

He was responding to a suggestion that the DPDP should not override RTI. The open house was attended by over 200 stakeholders from various walks of life to discuss and deliberate on the Digital Personal Data Protection Bill 2022, public consultations for which are open till January 2 (extended from December 17, earlier).

The draft Bill proposes that ‘In the event of any conflict between a provision of this Act and a provision of any other law for the time being in force, the provision of this Act shall prevail to the extent of such conflict’.

The bill has proposed an amendment in Section 8 of the Right to Information Act, 2005, which limits sharing of personal information in cases which has no relationship to any public activity or interest.

Data fiduciaries

The bill proposes the right to seek information from data fiduciaries -- an entity which collects data from users but empowers the government to exempt entities notified from sharing information with the individuals.

Chandrasekhar said that the data consent managers will be independent of ‘data fiduciaries’ and will work to protect the interest of users whose data is collected, especially those who are at the bottom of the pyramid.

During the open house discussions, several stakeholders also sought clarity around harm and consent provisions related to children, and the Minister said that the government is open to making definitions tighter and looking at the issues that will be submitted in response to the draft.

One of the stakeholders also suggested that the Bill should not remove clauses related to compensation as there should be remedies available for citizens and not reduce it.

Chandrasekhar also stated that the Bill will act as a kinetic enabler for personal data protection while catalysing data led innovation and startup ecosystem. “Post the Bill, the intermediaries will have to go for deep behavioural changes -- it will no longer be business as usual for them,” he added.