Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla has ruled out the possibility of any extension to the Joint Parliamentary Committee (JPC) on the Personal Data Protection Bill, 2019.
The Speaker was addressing a press conference on preparedness for the Parliament’s Monsoon Session, set to begin on 19th June. He spoke on the issue when asked about the induction of Meenakshi Lekhi, Ashwini Vaishnaw, Bhupendra Yadav, Rajiv Chandrashekhar, and Ajay Bhatt as Ministers in the Union Cabinet.
Notably, Ms. Lekhi was the Chairperson of the 30-member committee, which now has 23 active members, without a Chairperson.
Speaking on the issue, Mr. Speaker said:
Most of the work of the Committee is over. Now, a new chairperson has to be nominated. I hope this will not affect submission of report. No further time will be given.”
Highlights of the Personal Data Protection Bill, 2019
Ever since the Puttaswamy Judgment in 2017, India has been expecting a data protection law.
The Bill intends to regulate the collection and processing of personal data of Indian citizens. It improves over the existing data protection rules as contained in the information technology rules. It introduces important definitions such as ‘data subject’, ‘data controller’, data principal’, and ‘data fiduciary’.
The proposed law also provides for the classification of data as personal, sensitive personal, or critical personal data. Any entity could process personal data only using explicit content of the data principal, and only for legitimate purposes.
Most notably, the law proposes to confer certain rights upon a data principal. These rights include the right to be forgotten, data portability, correction & erasure.
Status of the Bill
The Personal Data Protection Bill, 2019 was referred to a Joint Parliamentary Committee in 2019. The committee obtained an extension for the presentation of their report in September 2020 and subsequently in March 2021.
The bill doesn’t find a mention in the bulletin issued by the Lok Sabha. It could either mean that the bill soon may be introduced once a new Chairperson to the JPC is appointed, or the JPC may submit the report in the Monsoon Session with the bill being introduced later.