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Legal Metrology Rules 2011

Legal Metrology Rules 2011

Why in news?

  • According to the Ministry of Consumer Affairs, Importers of medical devices, used particularly for providing oxygen support to Covid-19 patients, are now allowed to import these devices without prior mandatory declaration for the next three months, the said in a notification.

About Legal Metrology (Packaged Commodities) Rules, 2011

  • Use of proper, accurate and standard weights and measures are very important for effective functioning of any economy, as it plays an indispensable role in consumer protection as protection from malpractices of under-weight or under-measurement, is an important function of the Government.
  • The Legal Metrology (packaged Commodities) Rules, 2011 are framed to regulate the pre-packaged commodities.
  • Under these rules, the pre-packaged commodities ~have to comply with certain mandatory lebelling requirements.
  • Based on the experience of implementation of the Rules and after a detailed stakeholder consultation, the
  • Department has amended the rules, aimed at enhanced consumer protection, but at the same time balancing with the requirement of ease of doing business.

Significance of Legal Metrology for Packaged Goods

  • Unpacked goods do not need to fall under Legal Metrology rules as most often the weighing is done before the consumer.
  • The manufacturer’s or seller’s identity is also known to the buyer and sometimes the product is manufactured in front of a buyer like flour in chakki.
  • In case of packed goods, the manufacturer’s identity is not known.
  • The manufacturer might be beyond the reach of the buyer.
  • There are many middlemen between the manufacturer and the final consumer.
  • It is difficult to find the actual person responsible for altercations in quantity and quality.
  • Also, the freshness and safety of the packed goods are unknown.
  • The legal metrology act ensures that the end consumer has all the relevant information about packaged goods such as expiry date, weight, price so that they can make buying decisions with clarity.

Packaged Goods covered under the rules

  • The basic provisions are applicable to all packaged goods. However, certain provisions apply to some goods only.
  • Chapter 2 of the Act applies to packaged goods meant for retail sale. This chapter is not applicable to goods meant for institutional and industrial use directly from the manufacturer such as a company buying biscuits in bulk to distribute among employees.
  • Commodities that are more than 25kg or liters in weight (50 for fertilizers & cement) are exempt from retail laws.
  • Many provisions that apply or do not apply to different types of packaged goods as specified under the law.

Mandatory Declaration required

  • Manufacturer/Importer/ Packer Details
  • The generic name of the commodity that is being sold
  • The maximum retail price (inclusive of all taxes) must be declared
  • Date of manufacture, packaging or import must be mentioned on the packaging along with viz. month & year. In case the date of manufacturing and packing are different, they must be mentioned separately.
  • The date of expiry along with month and year should be mentioned on the product. The shelf life or the time span within which the product is best to use can also be mentioned.
  • The quantity of the commodity
  • Ingredient/s of the commodity
  • Customer service or helpline for customer grievances

Penalty

  • Registration of manufacturers, packers, and importers with the State Controller of Legal Metrology or the Director of Legal Metrology is compulsory.
  • Violation of which will lead to a fine of Rs. 4000.
  • If standard units are not used for the declaration, there will be a fine of Rs.2000/- or 4000/- depending on the case.
  • Penalties may increase up to Rs.25,000/- for the first offense of non-declaration, Rs.50,000/- for second and can extend up to Rs.100,000 or imprisonment, or both for subsequent offenses. There are many other penalties listed under the act for various violations.

Salient features of the amendments

  • Goods displayed by the seller on e-commerce platform shall contain declarations required under the Rules like name & Address of the manufacturer, packer and importer, name of the commodity, net content, retail sale price, consumer care complaint, dimention etc.
  • Specific mention is made i the rules that no person shall declare different MRPs (dual MRP) on an identical pre- packaged commodity, unless allowed under any law.
  • This will benefit consumers at large as they are having complaint regarding dual MRP for item depending upon different type of public places like Cinema Hall, Airport, Malls etc.

About the Legal Metrology Act 2009

  • The Department of Consumer Affairs, administers the Legal Metrology Act 2009.
  • The act provides for application of legal requirements to measurements and measuring instruments.
  • The objective of Legal Metrology is to ensure public guarantee from the point of view of security and accuracy of the weighments and measurements.
  • The Legal Metrology (Packaged Commodities), Rules 2011 are primarily intended to ensure that the consumers are able to make informed choices by being informed of essential declarations on the pre-packed commodities.

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