India's Data Protection Impasse: Conflict at All Levels, Privacy Absent

(2014) 127 Privacy Laws & Business International Report, 23-24

UNSW Law Research Paper No. 2014-26

4 Pages Posted: 19 May 2014 Last revised: 30 Aug 2014

Date Written: February 1, 2014


The development of data protection in India has been stalled for at least two years. The principal reason is the degree of conflict over data privacy issues at every level, with no early solutions in sight. The result is that India’s national Parliament, Supreme Court and Executive (Congress government, and Ministries alike) are all in conflict over privacy issues, and this is heighted by further conflicts with some State governments (often non-Congress governments) and some State High Courts. This article gives a brief explanation of these privacy conflicts, and their interconnections, as at the end of 2013. With national elections to be held in April or May 2014, there is little likelihood of resolutions before a new government is in office.

The article reviews the failed 2011 data privacy Rules made under s43A of the Information Technology Act 2000; India's attempts to link what it calls ‘data secure status’ to its negotiations for a proposed EU-India Free Trade Agreement (FTA); the conflicts over India’s Congress party national government aggressive pursuit of the development of an ID system, the Unique Identification Number (UID number or aadhaar), and how it has now involved both the Supreme Court and state High Courts; and competing comprehensive data privacy Bills.

Keywords: India, privacy, data protection, ID number, aadhaar

Suggested Citation

Greenleaf, Graham, India's Data Protection Impasse: Conflict at All Levels, Privacy Absent (February 1, 2014). (2014) 127 Privacy Laws & Business International Report, 23-24, UNSW Law Research Paper No. 2014-26, Available at SSRN:

Graham Greenleaf (Contact Author)

Independent Scholar ( email )



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