A general view of Parliament
Ten days after Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla said no more extension would be given to the Joint Parliamentary Committee on the Personal Data Protection Bill, 2019 to submit its report, two panel members will be moving a motion in the Lok Sabha on July 23 asking for an extension till the first week of the Winter Session of Parliament later this year.
The pending Personal Data Protection Bill has become more relevant amid the alleged 'Pegasus Project' snooping revelations, an issue that has rocked Parliament with Opposition members disrupting proceedings.
In Lok Sabha's revised list of business for July 23, it is mentioned that Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) Member of Parliament PP Chaudhary and Biju Janata Dal (BJD) MP Bhartruhari Mahtab, who are members of the committee, will move a motion that the House extends up to the first week of the Winter Session, the time for presentation of the report of the JPC on the bill.
The legislation has already seen a lot of delay after it was introduced in the Lok Sabha on December 11, 2019 and referred to a parliamentary committee the same day.
The report was to be submitted by the committee by the first day of the last week of the Budget Session, 2020 but was extended till second week of the Monsoon Session last year. Another extension was then given till second week of the Winter Session in 2020 and then another extension till the first week of the 2021 Budget Session.
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The bill followed a report by the Justice BN Srikrishna Committee on data protection and will govern the processing of personal data by the government, companies incorporated in India and foreign companies dealing with personal data of individuals in India.
The legislation categorises certain personal data as sensitive personal data and envisages setting up a Data Protection Authority to prevent misuse of personal data and protect the interests of individuals and stipulates punishments.
Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla, before the start of the session, had said there was no scope for granting further extension to the committee to submit its report and said the work done by the committee was already at an advanced stage.
The committee held 66 meetings with various social media companies and government representatives since 2019. Five of the 30-member panel have been elevated in the recent Cabinet reshuffle, including the committee chairperson, Meenakshi Lekhi. A new chairperson is to be appointed and there are seven vacancies in the committee as well.