You are reading it here first: Congress Lok Sabha MP S. Jothi Mani has submitted her resignation from the Joint Parliamentary Committee on the Personal Data Protection Bill, 2019, Mani told MediaNama. She will be replaced by Congress MP Manish Tewari, she said. Mani’s resignation was not a party decision, but a personal one, owing to her upcoming hectic travel schedule. “This is an important Bill, and needs attention,” she told us.
This follows Trinamool Congress’s Prof. Saugata Roy’s resignation from the committee. His resignation came into effect on December 12, the same day the JPC was formed. However, it was announced on the Lok Sabha website only on December 23. Roy told MediaNama that this was “a party decision”. When asked about reasons behind such a decision, he said, “Parties decide according to their own proclivities.”
The JPC originally had 30 members — 10 from Rajya Sabha and 20 from Lok Sabha, under the chairpersonship of BJP’s Meenakshi Lekhi. In light of these two resignations, there are are now 28 members, one of whom will be replaced by Manish Tewari. However, his membership will need to be approved by the Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla. The office of Dr Ram Raj Rai, an officer in the Lok Sabha Secretariat, confirmed to MediaNama that no official replacements have been made yet.
In December, IT Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad had moved the Rajya Sabha to send the PDP Bill to the JPC. According to the Lok Sabha memo announcing the Committee’s composition, the Committee shall make its first report to the Lok Sabha by last week of the Budget Session 2020.
Earlier this morning, we reported that the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY) is scheduled to brief the JPC on January 14. However, in light of this resignation and Roy’s, it appears that the meeting might not be an effective one.
(with reporting inputs by Trisha Jalan)
Update (January 7, 2019 10:15 am): The article was updated with information from the Lok Sabha Secretariat.