Don’t adopt data bill report unless tabled, Brittas tells RS chair | Latest News India - Hindustan Times
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Don’t adopt data bill report unless tabled, Brittas tells RS chair

BySaptarshi Das
Jul 31, 2023 12:01 AM IST

Brittas has urged the Upper House chair to not allow the Bill to be introduced, without having attached the piece of legislation or before it was tabled in Parliament

New Delhi Communist Party of India (Marxist) leader John Brittas issued a dissent note to Rajya Sabha chairman Jagdeep Dhankhar on Friday, opposing the decision of the Standing Committee on Communications and Information Technology to adopt a report on the draft Digital Personal Data Protection Bill, without having attached the piece of legislation or before it was tabled in Parliament.

Communist Party of India (Marxist) leader John Brittas issued a dissent note to Rajya Sabha chairman Jagdeep Dhankhar on Friday
Communist Party of India (Marxist) leader John Brittas issued a dissent note to Rajya Sabha chairman Jagdeep Dhankhar on Friday

Brittas, a member of the Rajya Sabha, sent the objection days after opposition leaders walked out of the parliamentary committee meeting over the report on the proposed privacy law, and urged the Upper House chair to not allow the Bill to be introduced.

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“It is imperative to note that the said Digital Personal Data Protection Bill had neither been introduced before either of the Houses of Parliament till date, nor was it referred to the Standing Committee by the chairman of the Rajya Sabha or the Speaker, as the case may be, for examination... It is evident that the Report of the Standing Committee on Communications and Information Technology, said to be adopted on 26th July 2023, is void ab initio and is ultra vires of the powers of the Standing Committee conferred by the Rules. The Rules proscribe the Standing Committee from examining such a yet to be introduced Bill,” said MP Brittas’s letter to the Rajya Sabha chairman, sent on Friday.

While urging the chairman to refrain from allowing the bill to be laid the CPI(M) MP said, “I earnestly urge upon your (RS chairman) good self to remit the said Report back to the Standing Committee, citing the matter of jurisdictional ouster.

“It can be found beyond an iota of doubt that the impetuous action of the Committee in including comments and recommendations on this Bill is far beyond its jurisdiction and as such, rendering the Report liable to be nullified. I may also bring to your kind notice that I had chosen to boycott the meeting of the Standing Committee on Communication and Information Technology held on 26.07.2023 protesting over the illegalities,” Brittas’s letter added.

Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) MP and member of the panel Nishikant Dubey said on Wednesday, “We have adopted the reports that were part of the agenda of today’s meeting. One was on the functioning of the Central Board of Film Certification, and the other one was on the new Personal Data Protection Bill.”

Not only Brittas, but Mahua Moitra of the Trinamool Congress, Karti Chidambaram of Congress, too, submitted a similar two-page dissent note on the existing draft and their concerns over the bill to chairman Dhankhar on July 27.

HT has learnt that, in the dissent note, the MPs highlighted concerns over the draft bill, including how it doesn’t go into the specifics of implementation, “thus leaving lot of power with the executive for to frame rules on important matters related to citizens’ data security.”

The proposed legislation was cleared by cabinet earlier this month and seeks to provide a legal framework to the right to privacy, held as a fundamental right by the Supreme Court. But the process has dragged on, with multiple drafts being made and scrutinised by several entities, including the parliamentary standing committee.

The legislation is likely to be introduced in the ongoing monsoon session of Parliament.

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