The Finance Bill,2019 has given the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) new powers to act against entities that tamper or destroy electronic databases or fail to furnish information.
The bill has introduced section 15HAA in the SEBI Act.The section states that if a person tampers with information to obstruct or influence an investigation,destroys regulatory data or tries to access data in an unauthorised manner then the entity could be penalised up to ₹10 crore or three times the unlawful gains,whichever is higher.
However,it is not yet clear whether ‘regulatory data’ and ‘database’ as mentioned in the section refers only to SEBI data or even those maintained by exchanges,depositories and clearing corporations.
Further,the bill also provides SEBI to impose penalties of up to ₹1 crore on brokers if they fail to issue a contract note to clients in the format as laid down by the exchanges.
These new powers assume significance as it is already probing the leak of sensitive data through WhatsApp and also recently passed fresh orders on the National Stock Exchange(NSE) co-location matter.
The Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) is the regulator for the securities market in India.It was established in 1988 and given statutory powers in 1992 through the SEBI Act,1992.