Showing parts of India as territories of China or Pakistan on any digital platform could land violators in jail with a maximum term of seven years and fine up to Rs 100 crore.
The move is part of the 'The Geospatial Information Regulation Bill 2016' following recent instances where certain social networking sites showed Jammu and Kashmir and Arunachal Pradesh as part of Pakistan and China respectively.
If the Bill becomes a legislation, online platforms like Google will have to apply for a licence to run Google Maps or Google Earth in India.
According to the proposed law, it will be mandatory to take permission from a government authority before acquiring, disseminating, publishing or distributing any geospatial information of India. The Bill says those who already have this information will be required to make an application for a license within one year of the law coming into existence.
No person shall depict, disseminate, publish or distribute any wrong or false topographic information of India including international boundaries through internet platforms or online services or in any electronic or physical form. Whoever, if any geospatial information of India in contravention of the law is acquired, it shall be punished with a fine ranging from Rs 1 crore to Rs 100 crore and/or imprisonment for a period upto seven years, according to the draft Bill.
Geospatial information means imagery or data acquired through satellites, aircrafts, airships, balloons, unmanned aerial vehicles including graphical or digital data depicting natural or man-made physical features or boundaries of earth or any information related thereto including surveys, charts, maps, photos references to cob-ordinate systems and having attributes.
The government also proposed to set up a Security Vetoing Authority to carry out checks on the geospatial information of India in a time-bound manner and as per regulations framed by an apex committee. The Security Vetoing Authority shall consist of an officer of the rank of joint secretary to the government of India or above, as chairman and two members - a technical expert and a national security expert.
Any person who wants to acquire, disseminate, publish or distribute any geospatial information of India, may make an application along with requisite fees to the authority for security Vetoing of the information and to acquire license to publish or distribute information in any form, the Bill says.
According to the Bill, the Security Vetoing Authority, on receipt of an application and after examining it in terms of guidelines, shall either grant the license or reject it. If a license is granted and the licensee fails to comply with the terms of this Act, the enforcement authority may, after making an inquiry, revoke the license granted.