Won’t tolerate user data misuse to influence polls: IT Minister

IT Minister warned social media companies against misusing users' data to influence elections.

IT Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad on 18 June warned social media companies against misusing users' data to influence the outcome of elections, saying this will not be tolerated.

File image of Ravi Shankar Prasad. PTI

File image of Ravi Shankar Prasad. PTI

Also, the government was awaiting the report of the Justice Srikrishna Committee on data protection and law, said Prasad, who is also Law and Justice Minister.

At a press conference on the achievements of his ministry since the Modi government took power, Prasad talked about other issues like the proposed triple talaq law, the ordinance to extradite fugitives including Nirav Modi and Vijay Mallya, the appointment of future Chief Justice, judicial appointments and putting in place a procedure for appointment of judges.

Describing as "imaginary" the appointment of Justice Ranjan Gogoi — the senior most top court judge after Chief Justice Deepak Misra —as the next Chief Justice, Prasad said that under the procedure the outgoing Chief Justice recommends the name of the senior most judge after him as his successor and government will decide when that stage comes.

However, he said, "our intentions can't be suspected".

On the procedure for the appointment of judges to higher judiciary, the Minister said that discussions were going on between the government and the top court.

Prasad said the government wanted that the norms for the screening of the candidates (for appointment as judges) must be laid down in the memorandum of procedure.

He urged Congress leader Sonia Gandhi, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee and BSP supremo Mayawati to rise above political divide on the proposed triple talaq law which he said was for promoting gender justice, dignity and equality.

He pointed out that if 22 Islamic countries including Pakistan and Bangladesh can regulate triple talaq, then why can't a secular nation like India.

On the extradition of Nirav Modi, Vijaya Mallya and Lalit Modi, the Minister said: "We will not spare anyone, irrespective of their stature," Mallya was a member of the Rajya Sabha when he did the vanishing act.

"We are strengthening the law. We brought Fugitive Economic Offenders Bill, 2018. Congress opposed it, we brought an ordinance."

On the filling up of over 5,000 vacancies in the subordinate judiciary, Prasad said the appointment of judicial officials was vested in the High Court of each State. The government had no intention of encroaching upon their autonomy.

However, he favoured a "centralised selection process" for appointment to subordinate judiciary that will infuse the meritorious students from different law colleges and universities including those from the marginalised sections belonging to SC/ST.




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