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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