The Data Protection Act

[Ed Note : The following is a guest post by Mr. Shailesh Gandhi, Former Central Information Commissioner under the framework of the RTI Act 2005, who has graciously agreed to express his views through this platform]

If any proof was required that the RTI Act is seriously threatening the arbitrary and corrupt actions of those who are powerful, the proposed Data Protection Bill provides it. The Supreme Court of India in various decisions before the advent of the RTI Act acknowledged that the Right to Information and Right to publish are fundamental rights of citizens under Article 19 (1) (a) of the constitution which guarantees freedom of speech and expression. Any constriction of this right can be based only on what the constitution permits. Article 19 (2) permits reasonable restrictions on the exercise of this right only “in the interests of the sovereignty and integrity of India, the security of the State, friendly relations with foreign States, public order, decency or morality or in relation to contempt of court, defamation or incitement to an offence.”

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Net Neutrality And Economics 101 (Part II)

In Part I, I attempted to provide an overview of the ISP market structure, market players and associated economic phenomena. In Part II, we will be discussing the more specific topic of Net Neutrality and its intersection with economics.

Please note that over the course of the ensuing write-up, I have referred to two kinds of fees:

(i) Fee imposed by the ISP on the end-consumers

(ii) Fee imposed by the ISP on the content providers.

So, please pay close attention to the exact nature of the fee throughout the piece.

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Privacy & Transparency as Complementary Rights: Inadequacies in the Proposed Amendments to the RTI Act

[Ed Note : The following cross – post, authored by Sayan Bhattacharya of NALSAR University of Law, was first posted on the Law School Policy Review. The link to the same can be found here. ]

By leaving essential terms undefined and placing a higher burden to disclose personal information, the amendments proposed by the Srikrishna Committee are defeating the purpose of a right to privacy i.e. to make the state more transparent and the citizen less transparent.

The B.N. Srikrishna Committee was constituted a year ago by the Government of India to draft a data protection law for India. Recently, the committee submitted the draft “The Protection of Personal Data Bill, 2018” comprising 15 chapters that address various facets of a data protection regime. In the final chapter of the proposed bill, the committee suggested amendments to the Right to Information Act, 2005. The controversy around the proposed amendments have brought to the fore the conflict between a right to privacy and a right to information; with the fear of the former being used as an exemption to make the State less accountable.

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Admissibility of Secondary Digital Evidence in Courts

[Ed Note: The following is a guest post by Shriram Kashyap, a second year student of NALSAR University of Law.]

INTRODUCTION

The sudden influx of computers brought about major changes in the legal framework for regulating technology in India. The Information Technology Act 2000 (hereinafter the ‘IT Act’) was one such change that impacted various fields, including Criminal Law and Law of Evidence. The Indian Evidence Act, 1872 was one of the many Acts that was amended by the IT Act, and it introduced the concept of digital evidence to Indian Courts by adding Sections 65A and 65B, which describe the procedure to produce electronic evidence in courts during criminal trials and the admissibility of the same. These sections minimise the risk of falsification of digital evidence through various stipulations.

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A Note On Monsanto vs. Nuziveedu

In the recent judgement in the High Court of Delhi in Monsanto Technology LLC and Ors. v. Nuziveedu Seeds Limited and Ors, the Delhi High Court has single-handedly devastated the Biotechnology (Bt.) industry in India. Its judgement will have far-reaching consequences on multiple sectors such as genetic modification and biotechnology, pharmaceuticals and the agriculture industry.

Brief Facts and Monsanto’s Patent Claims

Through a Government notice from the Department of Agriculture, the trait fees, or the fees charged for seeds with genetic coding for a specific characteristic (such as pest resistance, or higher yield), were revised for certain seeds including Bollgard and Bollgard II of Monsanto, a Fortune 500 global conglomerate.

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