Highlights of the Bill
- The Private Detective Agencies (Regulation) Bill, 2007 provides for the regulation and licensing of private detective agencies operating in India.
- Every private detective agency will require a licence to operate. Licences shall be granted by regulation boards established at the central and state level.
- A private detective agency may employ a person as an agent if he is an Indian citizen, of 21 years of age or above, and satisfies certain specified requirements about his antecedents, training and physical fitness.
- An agency must maintain a register with specified information, including the names and addresses of its managers, staff and clients. It shall also record the salaries of its staff, and the gist of the work it has undertaken for a client.
- Any agent violating a person’s right to privacy and freedom shall be punishable with imprisonment and a fine.
Key Issues and Analysis
- A private detective agency is defined as one with “a valid licence”. This makes the Bill inapplicable to those operating without a licence.
- The breaching of an individual’s right to privacy has been made punishable. Previously the right to privacy in India has only been defined with regard to state surveillance.
- In a number of other countries that regulate private detectives, it is the agent that is licensed rather than the agency.
- The Bill specifies that a private detective must be an Indian citizen. Such a requirement does not exist in similar legislation in several other countries.
- A person who is not an Indian citizen may not hold a majority shareholding in an agency. Many other sectors in India do not have this requirement. The Bill also does not explicitly prevent a majority of shares being held jointly by foreigners.
- Under certain circumstances, the government may cancel licences without consulting the licensing boards. This differs from the practice in several other countries.