The Finance Ministry has proposed a new section, 135AA, in the Customs Act vide Union Budget 2022-23. Proposed section 135AA of Customs Act, 1962 criminalise the illicit publication of personalised, transaction level information by private entities, which affects the competitive position of Indian businesses in international trade and compromises their data privacy. Government agencies, such as, Department of Commerce, will continue to uninterruptedly publish data as per current practice.

Full Text of the Proposed new section 135AA is as follows:-

94. Insertion of new section 135AA.

After section 135A of the Customs Act, the following section shall be inserted, namely:––

‘135AA. Protection of data.

(1) If a person publishes any information relating to the value or classification or quantity of goods entered for export from India, or import into India, or the details of the exporter or importer of such goods under this Act, unless required so to do under any law for the time being in force, he shall be punishable with imprisonment for a term which may extend to six months, or with fine which may extend to fifty thousand rupees, or with both.

(2) Nothing contained in this section shall apply to any publication made by or on behalf of the Central Government.

Explanation. –– For the purposes of this section, the expression “publishes” includes reproducing the information in printed or electronic form and making it available for the public.’.

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