The PDP Bill has been under review by a Joint Parliamentary Committee since 2019, and the committee was recently given an extension till the winter session for presenting its report.
Four members of Rajya Sabha were appointed to the Joint Parliamentary Committee on the Personal Data Protection Bill after a motion by BJP MP V. Murleedharan was passed in the Upper House today.
Yesterday two motions were passed in the Lok Sabha today to appoint 7 new members- 3 from the Lok Sabha and 4 from the Rajya Sabha to the JPC, which has had several vacancies recently after multiple members were inducted into the Union Council of Ministers. Both the Lok Sabha motions were introduced by committee’s Chairman P.P. Chaudhry and committee member Bhartruhari Mahtab. The motion in the lower house however did not list the names of the Rajya Sabha MPs and instead, recommended the Upper House to appoint four MPs from the house and subsequently ‘communicate’ the appointments to the Lower House.
Recent resignations, retirements, and elevation of several committee members to positions in the Council of Ministers left as many as seven positions vacant in the 30 member-committee.
Why it matters? The JPC was constituted in December 2019 to review the draft Personal Data Protection Bill, 2019, under the chairmanship of Meenakashi Lekhi. According to PRS legislative, a JPC can give non-enforceable recommendations to the government and subsequently publish reports on actions taken by the government which can be debated in Parliament. Since the Puttaswamy judgement in 2017 at the Supreme Court of India, the government has been under an obligation to pass legislation to protect Indians’ personal data. Steps like a data protection regulator, localisation requirements for data, and other aspects of the draft bill have been closely watched by the industry for years.
Who are the new appointees?
The motion proposed to appoint three MPs from Lok Sabha to the JPC, namely:
- Thiru Dayanidhi Maran (DMK)
- Dr. Satya Pal Singh (BJP)
- Aparajita Sarangi (BJP)
- Prof. Ram Gopal Yadav (SP)
- Rakesh Sinha (BJP)
- Dr. Vinay P. Sahasrabuddhe (BJP)
- Dr. Sudhanshu Trivedi (BJP)
Reasons for the vacancies
According to parliamentary procedures, MPs who are sworn into the Council of Ministers cannot be part of a Joint Parliamentary Committee.
Here are the positions that the former committee members hold now-
- Meenakshi Lekhi is currently a Minister of State for the Ministry of External Affairs.
- Ashwini Vaishnaw is currently the Minister of Communication, the Minister of Electronics and Information Technology, and the Minister of Railways.
- Bhupender Yadav is currently the Minister of Labour and Employment.
- Rajeev Chandrasekhar is currently a Minister of State in the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology.
- Ajay Bhatt is currently Minister of State for the Ministries of Defence and Tourism.
According to the motion, the resignation of DMK MP Kanimozhi Karunanidhi and the retirement of Prof. Ram Gopal Yadav has resulted in two other vacancies on the committee.
Other members of the JPC
The chairman of the committee BJP Lok Sabha MP P.P. Chaudhary was appointed to the post last month, in the ongoing monsoon session, following the termination of Meenakashi Lekhi’s chairmanship.
Lok Sabha MPs
- S.S. Ahluwalia
- Arvind Dharmapuri
- Dr. Heena Vijaykumar Gavit
- Gaurav Gogoi,
- Dr. Sanjay Jaiswal,
- Bhartruhari Mahtab,
- Mahua Moitra,
- Ritesh Pandey,
- Col. Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore,
- Midhun Reddy
- Shrikant Eknath Shinde
- Rajiv Ranjan Singh,
- Uday Pratap Singh,
- Dr. (Prof.) Kirit Premjibhai Solanki,
- L.S. Tejasvi Surya,
- Manish Tewari, S
Rajya Sabha MPs
- A. Navaneethakrishnan
- Derek O’ Brien
- Dr. Amar Patnaik
- Suresh Prabhu
- Jairam Ramesh
- Vivek K. Tankha
- JPC given extension till winter session for presenting report on Personal Data Protection (PDP) Bill, new Chair appointed
- JPC Report on PDP Bill submitted to Lok Sabha speaker: Meenakashi Lekhi
Update, 2:48pm 5th August: The story was updated with the names of the Rajya Sabha MP’s added to the committee.
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