PU Prof.’s Research Paper Lauded at World Conference

Koral ‘purnoor’, Demokreteic Front, Chandigarh – 12 September :

India Too Urgently Needs Right To Be Forgotten Law

Prof. Dr. Jyoti Rattan, Professor of Law, Department of Laws Panjab University, Chandigarh, made a Zoom presentation at the World Conference of the European Group of Public Administration (EGPA) 2022 organized in close cooperation with the Instituto Nacional de Administracao (INA) and the Instituto Superior de Ciencias e Politicas (ISCSP) and other international partners in Lisbon, Portugal, from 6 to 9 September 2022. Besides scholars, the global event was attended by leading legal luminaries, policy-makers and administrators.

She explained that this new global problem has emerged in the 21st Century due to the increasing use of all-powerful social media, modern information and communication technologies, and the internet that have no national boundaries. Any information travels all over the world in no time via various social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and search engines like Google. So, there’s an urgent need to have a separate law on the Right to Be Forgotten to reflect latest and correct image about an individual.

Dr. Jyoti Rattan is a well-known expert in International Law, Cyber Law, and Taxation Laws and has written 22 books in various fields of Law. The foreword to her book on Cyber Laws and Information Technology (6th Edition) was written by the Hon’ble Chief Justice of India, Supreme Court, New Delhi. Earlier in 2004, she had given an invited presentation on Cyber Violence Against Women before the National Commission for Women, New Delhi.

Highly appreciated at the World Conference, her current burning topic of the presentation was “Equal Treatment: Law Relating To Right To Be Forgotten (RTBF); An Examination Of Some Judicial Decisions With Special Reference To The European Union And India.” She presented the latest situation about the Right To Be Forgotten in the European Union, European Economic Area (EEA) and India.

She pointed out that in many other countries people have already started benefitting from the law of Right To Be Forgotten but not in India. For example, the 27 countries of the European Union and 3 countries of the European Economic Area, the USA and the UK have already passed and are implementing the Right To Be Forgotten law. The European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), 2018, is considered the world’s toughest privacy law dealing with the Right To Be Forgotten.

But, in India, she regretted that we still do not have a separate Data Privacy law covering The Right To Be Forgotten. However, in India too Data Privacy remains a serious issue and people are suffering in its absence due to wrong images circulating on social media. Unfortunately, only last month on 3 August, the Government had withdrawn the Personal Data Protection Bill, 2021, which had provisions to protect an individual’s Right To Be Forgotten. Hopefully, the Government would reintroduce in the Parliament an amended version of the Personal Data Protection Bill, 2021, very soon in the interest of Indian citizens.

Dr. Jyoti Rattan explained that many times if obsolete information is not instantly corrected, updated or deleted, it keeps on circulating as such on social media and information superhighways in the virtual world. But this may have a serious impact in the real world that might be harmful. Because, in case the old or incorrect information is not quickly updated or deleted from all the online platforms, it might create a negative image about an individual in the mind of the reader, viewer, or employer.

Giving an example, Dr. Rattan said that a person might have been charged in Court and the case is flashed on social media all over the world. But later he is set free and this is not updated or deleted on social media. So, an employer having old information may become prejudiced beforehand about a person, and may not employ him, thus treating him unfairly. It is for such an affected person that The Right To Be Forgotten is the only legal remedy. But in India, we are yet to have a specific law to provide immediate relief to individuals suffering in the country.