According to the Passage, the Committee Headed by Justice B. N. Srikrishna Called For: - Legal Reasoning

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India’s Personal Data Protection Bill, 2019 (‘Bill’) starts encouragingly, seeking to protect “the privacy of individuals relating to their personal data”. But by the end, it is clear it is not designed to deliver on the promise. For, even as it rightly requires handlers of data to abide by globally-accepted rules — about getting an individual’s consent first — it disappointingly gives wide powers to the Government to dilute any of these provisions for its agencies.

Recently, messaging platform WhatsApp said that some Indian journalists and rights activists were among those spied on using technology made by an Israeli company, which by its own admission only works for government agencies across the world.

Importantly, one of the first to raise a red flag about Bill’s problematic clauses was Justice B.N. Srikrishna, whose committee’s report forms the basis of the Bill. He has used words such as “Orwellian” and “Big Brother” in reaction to the removal of safeguards against actions of Government agencies. In its report last July, the committee noted that the dangers to privacy originate from state and non-state actors. It, therefore, called for exemptions to be “watertight”, “narrow”, and available for use in “limited circumstances”. It had also recommended that the Government bring in a law for the oversight of intelligence-gathering activities, the means by which non-consensual processing of data takes place. A related concern about the Bill is regarding the constitution of the Data Protection Authority of India (‘DPA’), which is to monitor and enforce the provisions of the Act. It will be headed by a chairperson and have not more than six whole-time members, all of whom are to be selected by a panel filled with Government nominees. This completely disregards the fact that Government agencies are also regulated under the Bill; they are major collectors and processors of data themselves. The sweeping powers the Bill gives to the Government render meaningless the gains from the landmark K.S. Puttaswamy vs. Union of India case, which culminated in the recognition that privacy is intrinsic to life and liberty, and therefore a basic right. That idea of privacy is certainly not reflected in the Bill in its current form.

According to the passage, the committee headed by Justice B. N. Srikrishna called for: 

Options

  • Limiting the grounds on which Government agencies may be allowed to act in a manner that endangers the right to privacy of individuals.

  • The right to privacy to be exempted from the ambit of the Bill.

  • The right to privacy to be endangered by state and non-state actors.

  • Watertight protection to Government agencies that process data of individuals.

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Solution

Limiting the grounds on which Government agencies may be allowed to act in a manner that endangers the right to privacy of individuals.

Explanation:

The correct answer is - limiting the grounds on which Government agencies may be allowed to act in a manner that endangers the right to privacy of individuals. As is evident from a reading of the passage, the committee anticipated dangers to the right to privacy from government agencies as well and advocated building safeguards to prevent the same. The passage states that the committee recommended that exemptions allowed to Government agencies should be “watertight”, “narrow”, and available for use in “limited circumstances”.

Concept: Legal Fundamentals and Terms (Entrance Exams)
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Principle: A violation of a legal right of someone, whether results in a legal injury or not, gives rise to an action in tort for compensation. At the same time, action by someone, which results in some loss or damage to somebody else is not actionable, if there is no violation of a right of that somebody.

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India’s Personal Data Protection Bill, 2019 (‘Bill’) starts encouragingly, seeking to protect “the privacy of individuals relating to their personal data”. But by the end, it is clear it is not designed to deliver on the promise. For, even as it rightly requires handlers of data to abide by globally-accepted rules — about getting an individual’s consent first — it disappointingly gives wide powers to the Government to dilute any of these provisions for its agencies.

Recently, messaging platform WhatsApp said that some Indian journalists and rights activists were among those spied on using technology made by an Israeli company, which by its own admission only works for government agencies across the world.

Importantly, one of the first to raise a red flag about Bill’s problematic clauses was Justice B.N. Srikrishna, whose committee’s report forms the basis of the Bill. He has used words such as “Orwellian” and “Big Brother” in reaction to the removal of safeguards against actions of Government agencies. In its report last July, the committee noted that the dangers to privacy originate from state and non-state actors. It, therefore, called for exemptions to be “watertight”, “narrow”, and available for use in “limited circumstances”. It had also recommended that the Government bring in a law for the oversight of intelligence-gathering activities, the means by which non-consensual processing of data takes place. A related concern about the Bill is regarding the constitution of the Data Protection Authority of India (‘DPA’), which is to monitor and enforce the provisions of the Act. It will be headed by a chairperson and have not more than six whole-time members, all of whom are to be selected by a panel filled with Government nominees. This completely disregards the fact that Government agencies are also regulated under the Bill; they are major collectors and processors of data themselves. The sweeping powers the Bill gives to the Government render meaningless the gains from the landmark K.S. Puttaswamy vs. Union of India case, which culminated in the recognition that privacy is intrinsic to life and liberty, and therefore a basic right. That idea of privacy is certainly not reflected in the Bill in its current form.

Suppose the Bill provides a test of proportionality in respect of privacy, which is: “the act which infringes privacy must have a legitimate aim and must be the least restrictive way of achieving that aim”. If a journalist is known for her reporting on corruption in Government agencies and the Government chooses to engage a surveillance company to collect messages exchanged by her on WhatsApp, in order to intimidate her, does it meet the test of proportionality?


India’s Personal Data Protection Bill, 2019 (‘Bill’) starts encouragingly, seeking to protect “the privacy of individuals relating to their personal data”. But by the end, it is clear it is not designed to deliver on the promise. For, even as it rightly requires handlers of data to abide by globally-accepted rules — about getting an individual’s consent first — it disappointingly gives wide powers to the Government to dilute any of these provisions for its agencies.

Recently, messaging platform WhatsApp said that some Indian journalists and rights activists were among those spied on using technology made by an Israeli company, which by its own admission only works for government agencies across the world.

Importantly, one of the first to raise a red flag about Bill’s problematic clauses was Justice B.N. Srikrishna, whose committee’s report forms the basis of the Bill. He has used words such as “Orwellian” and “Big Brother” in reaction to the removal of safeguards against actions of Government agencies. In its report last July, the committee noted that the dangers to privacy originate from state and non-state actors. It, therefore, called for exemptions to be “watertight”, “narrow”, and available for use in “limited circumstances”. It had also recommended that the Government bring in a law for the oversight of intelligence-gathering activities, the means by which non-consensual processing of data takes place. A related concern about the Bill is regarding the constitution of the Data Protection Authority of India (‘DPA’), which is to monitor and enforce the provisions of the Act. It will be headed by a chairperson and have not more than six whole-time members, all of whom are to be selected by a panel filled with Government nominees. This completely disregards the fact that Government agencies are also regulated under the Bill; they are major collectors and processors of data themselves. The sweeping powers the Bill gives to the Government render meaningless the gains from the landmark K.S. Puttaswamy vs. Union of India case, which culminated in the recognition that privacy is intrinsic to life and liberty, and therefore a basic right. That idea of privacy is certainly not reflected in the Bill in its current form.

The Bill is amended, and the Government’s powers to provide exemptions for its agencies are removed. In such a situation, according to the author:


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This raises a basic question: Should the government control prices? The motivation for controlling drug prices is not very difficult to understand. Unlike some of the developed countries, where most of the population has insurance coverage or medical facilities are provided by the state, medical expenses in India are borne by citizens, largely through out-of-pocket expenses. Therefore, the state intervenes by keeping prices of some drugs in check to contain such spending. However, the unintended consequence is that it affects the supply of drugs and can potentially make citizens worse off. The risk of non-availability was an important reason for raising prices. Although all pharmaceutical companies may not stop producing drugs with price control, they may limit the supply. Further, the government usually dithers on price hike because of political considerations so that it is not accused of favouring private companies.

Thus, the government should stay away from dictating prices and allow the market to function. Competition in the marketplace will ensure that no company is able to make extraordinary profits in basic and essential drugs. Since the state has limited resources, it should focus on regulation, and ensure that the quality of drugs supplied in the market is not compromised at any point. 

An essential medicine, ‘Formula A’, is used to treat cancer, and there is only one company engaged in its manufacture. If this is true, then, based on the author’s reasoning in the passage above:


Last week, the government used the Drug Price Control Order, 2013, to increase the price ceiling for 21 medicines by as much as 50% to ensure their availability in the market. This is a welcome move because lower prices would have further limited the availability of these drugs, some of which include those used for malaria, leprosy and allergy. The decision by the regulatory authority – usually known to reduce prices of essential drugs – was prompted by repeated petitions by the pharmaceutical industry, which pointed out that the increasing cost of imports had made the production of some of these drugs unviable. Prices of bulk drugs and active pharmaceutical ingredients have, in fact, gone up by up to 88%, and are largely imported. 

This raises a basic question: Should the government control prices? The motivation for controlling drug prices is not very difficult to understand. Unlike some of the developed countries, where most of the population has insurance coverage or medical facilities are provided by the state, medical expenses in India are borne by citizens, largely through out-of-pocket expenses. Therefore, the state intervenes by keeping prices of some drugs in check to contain such spending. However, the unintended consequence is that it affects the supply of drugs and can potentially make citizens worse off. The risk of non-availability was an important reason for raising prices. Although all pharmaceutical companies may not stop producing drugs with price control, they may limit the supply. Further, the government usually dithers on price hike because of political considerations so that it is not accused of favouring private companies.

Thus, the government should stay away from dictating prices and allow the market to function. Competition in the marketplace will ensure that no company is able to make extraordinary profits in basic and essential drugs. Since the state has limited resources, it should focus on regulation, and ensure that the quality of drugs supplied in the market is not compromised at any point. 

The state places a very low price for the sale of essential medicine, which is lower than the price of the imported ingredients used to make that medicine. What, according to the author, would be the effect of setting such a low price? 


Last week, the government used the Drug Price Control Order, 2013, to increase the price ceiling for 21 medicines by as much as 50% to ensure their availability in the market. This is a welcome move because lower prices would have further limited the availability of these drugs, some of which include those used for malaria, leprosy and allergy. The decision by the regulatory authority – usually known to reduce prices of essential drugs – was prompted by repeated petitions by the pharmaceutical industry, which pointed out that the increasing cost of imports had made the production of some of these drugs unviable. Prices of bulk drugs and active pharmaceutical ingredients have, in fact, gone up by up to 88%, and are largely imported. 

This raises a basic question: Should the government control prices? The motivation for controlling drug prices is not very difficult to understand. Unlike some of the developed countries, where most of the population has insurance coverage or medical facilities are provided by the state, medical expenses in India are borne by citizens, largely through out-of-pocket expenses. Therefore, the state intervenes by keeping prices of some drugs in check to contain such spending. However, the unintended consequence is that it affects the supply of drugs and can potentially make citizens worse off. The risk of non-availability was an important reason for raising prices. Although all pharmaceutical companies may not stop producing drugs with price control, they may limit the supply. Further, the government usually dithers on price hike because of political considerations so that it is not accused of favouring private companies.

Thus, the government should stay away from dictating prices and allow the market to function. Competition in the marketplace will ensure that no company is able to make extraordinary profits in basic and essential drugs. Since the state has limited resources, it should focus on regulation, and ensure that the quality of drugs supplied in the market is not compromised at any point. 

The pharmaceutical industry has been asking the government to raise the prices of certain drugs for a long time but has not received a response. Why, according to the author, could this be? 


The highest law officer in India is the


The term ‘Intellectual Property Rights’ covers


The design does not include


Year of Digital Millenium Copyright Act


Mark the best option:
Principle: No person shall be deprived of his property save by authority of law.

Facts: The District Magistrate of Dastar district issued an order transferring all privately owned property within the two-kilometer range of the Kashti river in the district in the name of the state government for the purpose of converting the said area into an environmental green belt. The owners of the land filed a petition for quashing of the order under the principle. Will the petition succeed?


Read both the statements carefully and answer.
Assertion (A): No action lies for mere damage caused by some act which does not violate a legal right.
Reason (R): An action lies for interference with another's legal right even where it causes no actual damage.


Read both the statements carefully and answer.
Assertion (A): Custom to have the force of law must be followed from time immemorial.
Reason (R): Custom represents the common consciousness of the people.


Recently, the Supreme Court allowed _______________ euthanasia and right to give advance medical directives, _____________ stating that human beings have the right to die with dignity as part of fundamental right to life.


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