The Narendra Modi-led government is all set to introduce the Digital Personal Data Protection Bill in Lok Sabha on Thursday. However, controversy surrounds the bill’s classification, with Lok Sabha MP Manish Tewari questioning its categorization as a Financial Bill. Tewari raised concerns about the bill bypassing Rajya Sabha, should it be certified as a money bill.
Taking to Twitter, Tewari expressed his doubts about the sudden classification of the Digital Personal Protection Bill as a Financial Bill. If certified as a money bill by the Lok Sabha Speaker, the bill would only require approval from the Lok Sabha and not from Rajya Sabha. Tewari contends that the bill should be treated as a regular bill and undergo scrutiny by a Joint Committee of Parliament (JPC), particularly given the efforts put into the previous Protection Bill.
In response to media reports, the government has clarified that the Digital Personal Data Protection Bill will be introduced in Lok Sabha as a regular Bill, not a money bill. However, there is no independent verification from Mint at the moment.
The government had previously withdrawn the personal data protection bill in August last year and issued a new version of the draft bill in November 2022. With the introduction of the current bill, India is one step closer to enacting its first law on data privacy and data protection.
It is important to understand the distinction between money bills and ordinary bills. Ordinary bills require the approval of both houses of Parliament, whereas money bills do not need the approval of the Rajya Sabha. If the Digital Personal Data Protection Bill is classified as a money bill, it would circumvent the Rajya Sabha’s voting process, limiting its influence on the bill’s content and passage.
As the Digital Personal Data Bill enters the Lok Sabha, the classification controversy remains a matter of concern and debate among various stakeholders. The bill’s passage through both houses of Parliament will determine the future landscape of data privacy and protection in India.