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No virtual meetings of Parliamentary Committee on Data Protection Bill possible; committee seeks comments from particular entities

Parliament House

The Joint Parliamentary Committee on Personal Data Protection Bill, 2019, is not convening anytime soon, at least two sources, on the condition of anonymity, told MediaNama. This is because virtual meetings could compromise parliamentary privilege through the inclusion of a third party (that is, the video conferencing platform), two sources familiar with how parliamentary committees are convened told us. No virtual depositions will take place either. Everything will happen in person.

Moreover, “important” companies, industry bodies and at least one academic institution, that are important to the debate around data protection and privacy, have been asked to submit a presentation to the JPC, on the basis of which the members of the JPC will decide whether these entities need to be called for an in-person deposition, four sources told MediaNama, on condition of anonymity. This is even though some of the entities that have been invited had submitted their comments during the 3-week consultation period earlier this year. The JPC had accepted comments to the Bill until February 25 this year. The 30-member committee, headed by BJP MP Meenakshi Lekhi, was to submit its first report to the Lok Sabha by the last week of the Budget Session 2020. At the end of the Budget Session, the JPC had asked for an extension until the second week of the Monsoon Session.

Read: A Complete Guide to the Personal Data Protection Bill, 2019

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