In a first, India uses ‘she’, ‘her’ to refer to all genders in draft law

The draft Digital Personal Protection Bill, 2022, which has been put up for public consultation on Friday, finds mention of the two pronouns.

New Delhi: In a first in the legislative history of India, pronouns such as ‘her’ and ‘she’ have been used to denote all genders in a draft law.

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The draft Digital Personal Protection Bill, 2022, which has been put up for public consultation on Friday, finds mention of the two pronouns.

“With the philosophy Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government works, we have attempted to use the word ‘she’ and ‘her’ in the entire Bill instead of ‘him’ and ‘his’. This is an innovative thing attempted in the bill,” Union Minister for Railways, Communications, Electronics and Information Technology Ashwini Vaishnaw said on Friday.

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The focus of the Bill is to protect internet users from online harm and create a safe and trusted digital ecosystem as India is a digital economy powerhouse today.

For the record, three months after the withdrawal of the Digital Personal Data Protection Bill from the lower house of the Parliament, the central government today came up with a new draft Bill seeking views from the public.

The central government during the recent Monsoon session of Parliament withdrew the Bill from the Lok Sabha several months after it was introduced.

Vaishnaw had earlier said that the Bill was withdrawn because the Joint Parliamentary Committee recommended 81 amendments in a bill of 99 sections.

“Above that it made 12 major recommendations. Therefore, the bill has been withdrawn and a new bill will be presented for public consultation,” he had said.

The reintroduced draft Digital Personal Data Protection Bill, 2022, has proposed six types of penalties on non-companies to companies. To prevent a personal data breach, a penalty of up to Rs 250 core is being proposed in the draft bill which has been put out for public comments earlier today.

Besides, failure to notify the Board and affected Data Principals in the event of a personal data breach and non-fulfilment of additional obligations in relation to Children may attract Rs penalty up to Rs 200 crore.

Non-fulfilment of additional obligations of Significant Data Fiduciary under the sections 11 and 16 of the Act may attract Rs 150 crore and Rs 10 crore fines, respectively.

Lastly, non-compliance with provisions of this Act other than those listed in (1) to (5) and any rule made thereunder will attract penalties up to Rs 50 crore.

Regarding the transfer of personal data outside India, the Bill said the Central Government may, after an assessment of such factors as it may consider necessary, notify such countries or territories outside India to which a Data Fiduciary may transfer personal data, in accordance with such terms and conditions as may be specified.

In major exemption, the Central Government may, by notification, exempt from the application of provisions of this Act, the processing of personal data by any instrumentality of the State in the interests of sovereignty and integrity of India, security of the State, friendly relations with foreign States, maintenance of public order or preventing incitement to any cognizable offence.

The government said during the drafting of the Personal Data Protection Bill, 2019 the entire gamut of principles was widely debated and discussed. These include rights of individuals, duties of entities processing personal data and regulatory framework, among others.

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