The Joint Parliamentary Committee will now present its report on the Personal Data Protection Bill in the second week of the Parliament’s Winter Session. The Lok Sabha passed the motion to extend the deadline by committee member, BJP MP P.P. Chaudhary, with no objections. The dates for the Winter Session are not available yet. This is the second such extension for the committee.
When the committee was constituted in December 2019, it was supposed to submit its report by the last week of the Budget Session 2020, that is, in March. This deadline was extended to the second week of the Monsoon Session at Chairperson Meenakshi Lekhi’s proposal since due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the committee could not meet earlier this year to discuss the submissions. Virtual meetings of parliamentary committees are not allowed owing to concerns around preserving parliamentary privilege.
The ongoing Monsoon Session is also a truncated session that began on September 14 and is scheduled to end on October 1. Ahead of the session, Lekhi had tested positive for COVID-19 along with at least 16 other MPs.
The committee has met 12 times so far, with 8 of those meetings having taken place after the COVID-19 lockdown was eased in July. The Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MEITY), Ministry of Law and Justice, UIDAI, Registrar General and Census Commissioner, National Crime Records Bureau, Ministry of Home Affairs, L&L Partners, Foundation of Data Protection Professionals in India (FDPPI), ASSOCHAM, Dr A.P.J. Abdul Kalam Centre, NASSCOM, RBI and Pier Counsel. L&L Partners, earlier known as Luthra and Luthra, is a Delhi-based law firm. Pier Counsel is a Gurgaon-based law firm that specialises in advising client on cross-border investments.