Demystifying the Data Protection Board of India

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CA Mayur Joshi
CA Mayur Joshi
CA Mayur Joshi is a Forensic Accounting evangelist in India. He is the co-founder of Indiaforensic and is author of 7 books on forensic accounting, fraud investigations and money laundering.

In India, the Data Protection Board plays a pivotal role in safeguarding your personal information. Let’s dive into the nuts and bolts of this critical development under the Digital Personal Data Protection Act 2023.

What is the Data Protection Board of India?

The Data Protection Board of India is the guardian of your data rights, established by the Central Government. It’s a digital-savvy entity designed to oversee all things related to data protection in India.

Background and Composition

The board’s inner workings, including its strength, composition, and the appointment process of its Chairperson and Members, are governed by Digital Personal Data Protection Law. The Chief Executive responsible for running the show is handpicked by the Central Government, and their service terms are decided by the Government. The board is also empowered to have its own officers and employees as needed.

Functions of the Data Protection Board

The board wears multiple hats. Firstly, it determines if anyone is not playing by the data protection rules and imposes penalties accordingly. Secondly, it takes on functions assigned by the Central Government under this Act or any other law.

The board doesn’t just act arbitrarily; it ensures due process. If someone’s in the hot seat, they get a fair chance to speak up. The board can issue directions, but only after giving individuals a reasonable opportunity to be heard. In case of a personal data breach, it can swiftly instruct the Data Fiduciary to take necessary corrective actions.

The board also holds the power to modify, suspend, withdraw, or cancel any issued directions. However, it does this with care, attaching necessary conditions when required.

The Compliance Process

The Data Protection Board functions as an independent body, striving to operate digitally and using technology-driven measures.

It takes action when a complaint is filed by an affected person or upon references from Central or State Governments, court directives, or in cases of non-compliance with the Act by a Data Principal.

Before diving into an inquiry, the board assesses if there are valid grounds for it. If not, it might close the case, but not without stating reasons.

If an inquiry proceeds, it does so following the principles of natural justice, ensuring all sides are heard. The board has extensive powers, including summoning and examining individuals under oath, inspecting documents, and more.

The board doesn’t want to disrupt anyone’s daily operations unnecessarily. It’s conscious of the need to conclude inquiries swiftly without causing undue disruption.

Throughout the process, the board can seek assistance from law enforcement or government officers and issue interim orders if required.

When the inquiry concludes, the board decides whether the non-compliance is significant or not. If not, it can close the case. If yes, it moves forward according to the law.

Remember, all decisions of the board are binding, and it can enforce them as if they were court decrees.

In essence, the Data Protection Board of India is your watchdog, ensuring that your data remains safe and protected. It’s a critical player in the evolving landscape of data privacy, working tirelessly to protect your digital rights.

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