(a) The Commissioner of Mental Health, or his or her authorized agent, is hereby authorized to receive data from private or public agencies or agents for the purpose of research and study in mental health. All data received shall be used by the commissioner or persons designated by him for research and study and for program planning. No criminal or civil action may be brought against any person or agency who shall provide or submit such data to the commissioner.
(b) The Commissioner of Mental Health or any person shall not disclose, release, or divulge any information which might reasonably cause identification of a reported or reporting person under the provisions of this section.
(c) Violation of this section constitutes a misdemeanor and, upon conviction, the defendant shall be punished by fine or imprisonment, or both, in the discretion of the court.