Sending the Personal Data Protection Bill, 2019, to a Joint Select Committee instead of the Standing Committee on IT is a “brazen disregard for the Standing Committee”, and will make the IT Committee ineffective, Congress’ Shashi Tharoor, who heads the IT Standing Committee, said in a letter to Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla.

Tharoor has expressed his concern against RS Prasad’s proposal to refer the bill to a Joint Select Committee, and has asked Speaker Birla “to caution the government against this wilful exercise of undermining the House” and to request Prasad to send the bill to the IT Standing Committee.

The Joint Committee has been established “presumably in order to extend its control by a Chairman from the ruling party”. The IT Committee has the mandate to examine the Personal Data Protection Bill, “which the Committee has been regularly asking for”, Tharoor said. Creating a Joint Committee sets a dangerous precedent since it will allow the government to bypass the IT Committee each time “a contentious Bill is under consideration” and will render the Committee ineffective.