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LEGAL METROLOGY IN INDIA

 
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Introduction

 

Metrology refers to the science of measurement. Legal Metrology refers to the units and methods of weighment and measurement, subject to laws and regulations. To provide a uniform standard of weights and measures, the Standards of Weight and Measurement Act, 1976 and the Standards of Weights and Measures (Enforcement) Act, 1985 were enacted. However, advancement in science and technology brought about improvement in the scope of weights and measures. Therefore, to standardize weights and measures in trade and commerce and keep up with the advances in science and technology, the Legal Metrology Act, 2009 was enacted, repealing the Standards of Weight and Measurement Act, 1976 and the Standards of Weights and Measures (Enforcement) Act, 1985. Similarly, Legal Metrology (Packaged Commodities) Rules, 2011 (“PC Rules”) were enacted underlying the rules relating to mandatory declarations on packaged commodities, registrations of manufactures/packers/importers, provisions relating to wholesale and retail dealers, Power of Government to inspect the premises, penalty etc. which are being amended from time to time to ensure that the law keeps pace with changes in technology.

 

The Legal Metrology Act, 2009

 

The Legal Metrology Act, 2009 (“LM Act”) establishes uniform weights and measures and regulates trade and commerce in weights, measures and other goods which are sold or distributed by weight, measure or number. Every manufacturer or importer of goods sold by weight, measure or number has to obtain approval of the model of a weight or a measure from the competent authorities before manufacturing or importing.

 

The Legal Metrology (Packaged Commodities) Rule

 

The PC Rules governs the packaging and labelling of commodities. Chapter II of the PC Rules contains provisions applicable to packages intended to be sold for retail sale. Retail sale means the sale, distribution or delivery of commodities through retail sales shops, agencies or other instrumentalities for consumption by an individual or group of individuals or any other consumer. Recently, The Legal Metrology (Packaged Commodities) Amendment Rules, 2011 have been amended and the new The Legal Metrology (Packaged Commodities) Amendment Rules, 2017 were notified on June 23, 2017, which shall come into force from January 01, 2018. The amended PC Rules seek to enhance protection of consumers while balancing the requirement of ease of doing business.

 

Relevant provisions

 

Base units of weights and measures & numeration:

 

Section 5 of the LM Act mandates that every unit of weight or measure shall be in accordance with Metric System based on the International System of Units. The base units of weights and measures are as follows :

  1. length shall be the metre

  2. mass shall be the kilogram

  3. time shall be the second

  4. electric current shall be the ampere

  5. thermodynamic temperature shall be the kelvin

  6. luminous intensity shall be the candela

  7. amount of substance shall be the mole

Further, the LM Act provides that the base unit of numeration shall be the unit of International form, which is the stand unit of numeration. Further, every numeration shall be made in accordance with the decimal system. The decimal multiples and sub-multiples of the numerals shall be of such denominations and be written in such manner as may be prescribed.

 

Declarations to be made

 

Rule 6 of the PC Rules requires that all pre-packaged commodities have to bear certain declarations and particulars, and no person shall manufacture, pack, sell, distribute, offer, expose or possess for sale any pre-packaged commodity without such declarations. Any pre-packaged commodity that is sold, manufactured without the declarations will invite penalties under the Act. Therefore, all packages shall be affixed with a label that is legible and prominent, and such label shall contain the following declarations:

  1. Name and complete address of the manufacturer. If the manufacturer is not the packer, then the name and address of manufacturer and packer are to be mentioned. Also, the name and address of the importer shall be mentioned for imported packages;

  2. The common or generic name of all commodities or products contained in the package;

  3. The net quantity of the commodity in the package or the number of commodities in the packaged commodity;

  4. The month and year of manufacture or pre-packing or import of the packaged commodity;

  5. The retail sale price;

  6. The dimensions of the commodities;

  7. Name, address, telephone number, e-mail address of the Contact person in case of consumer complaints.

Wholesale packages (Rule 24)

 

All wholesale packages have to bear a legible, definite, plain and conspicuous declaration as to:

 

a) The name and address of the manufacturer or importer. If manufacturer or importer is not the packer, then the name and address of the packer; b) The identity of the commodity contained in the package; and c) The total number of retail package or the net quantity of the commodity contained in the wholesale package.

 

Commodities exempted under the PC Rules (Rules 3 and 26)

 

The provisions of Chapter II of the PC Rules do not apply to the following kind of packages:

  1. Packaged commodities meant for industrial consumers or institutional consumers. Institutional consumer means consumers like transportation, Airways, Railways, Hotels, Hospitals or any other service institutions who buy packaged commodities directly from the manufacturer for use by that institution. Industrial consumer means the industrial consumer who buy packaged commodities directly from manufacturer for use by that industry;

  2. Packages of commodities containing quantity of more than 25 kilograms or 25 litres;

  3. The net weight or measure of the commodity is 10 grams or 10 millilitre or less, if sold by weight or measure;

  4. Any package containing fast food items packed by restaurant or hotel and the like;

  5. It contains scheduled formulations and non-scheduled formulations covered under the Drugs (Price Control) Order, 2013 made under section 3 of the Essential Commodities Act, 1955; and

  6. Agricultural produce in packages above 50 kilograms.

Director Nomination

 

Section 49 of the LM Act provides that a director may be nominated in respect of a Company who will be held responsible when the Company commits an offence under the Act. Such nomination is made by filing requisite form along with the Board Resolution for appointment of such Director and the consent letter of such Director, to the Director of Legal Metrology or concerned Controller of Legal Metrology.

 

It is advisable to nominate a director because if no such director has been nominated, then all directors who, at the time at which the offence was committed, were in charge of and were responsible to the Company, shall be held guilty of the offence and shall be liable to be proceeded against and punished under law.

 

Registration of manufacturers, packagers and importers

 

Rule 27 of the PC Rules provides that every individual, firm, Hindu undivided family, society, company or corporation which pre-packs or imports any commodity for sale, distribution or delivery any commodity is mandatorily required to obtain registration of their name and complete address by making an application along with requisite fees to the Director of Legal Metrology or the Controller of Legal Metrology for registration of its name and complete address.

 

Penal provisions provided under the LM Act and PC Rules:

 

According to the recent amendments in the Legal Metrology (Packaged Commodities) Rules, 2011 the provisions relating to amount of fine imposed for contravention with the said Rules have been amended. The Rules state that whoever contravenes any provisions of these rules, for which no punishment is provided, shall be punished with fine of Five Thousand Rupees.

 

Compounding of offences: The amendment also revised the sum of compounding of offences committed under the Act shall be as follows:

 

For more information on Registration under GST India, Goods and Service Tax in India please write to us at info@ssrana.com

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