Author : V S Warrier
Legal Metrology Act, 2009 is an Act to establish and enforce standards of weights and measures, regulate trade and commerce in weights, measures and other goods which are sold or distributed by weight, measure or number and for matters connected therewith or incidental thereto.
The Act was enacted in the Sixtieth year of Republic of India, and received the Presidential assent on 13th January 2010.
The Legal Metrology Act, 2009 repeals and replaces both the Standards of Weights and Measures Act of 1976 and the Standards of Weights & Measures (Enforcement) Act of 1985. It amalgamates similar provisions of both the previous acts.The provisions applicable to inter-state trade or commerce for applicability in intra-state trade are now consolidated. While the Director will enforce the provisions in inter-state trade, the State Controllers will enforce the provisions in intra-state trade in their respective states. Many of the provisions of both the acts are now relegated to respective Rules made under the new Act.
Standard Weights & Measures
• Sec 2(f) defines “Label” as any written, marked, stamped, printed or graphic matter affixed to or appearing upon any pre-packaged commodity.
• Sec 2(l) defines “pre-packaged commodity” as a commodity which without the purchaser being present is placed in a package of whatever nature, whether sealed or not, so that the product contained therein has a pre-determined quantity.
• Sec 3: Provisions of this Act to override provisions of any other law.
• Sec 4 : Units of weights and measures to be based on metric system
• Section 12: Any custom, usage, etc. contrary to standard weight, measure or numeration to be void.
Appointment and Powers of Director, Controller and Legal Metrology Officers
• Sec 13(1): The Central Govt. may, by notification, appoint a Director of LM, Addl. Director, Joint Director, Deputy Director, Asst. Director and other employees for exercising the powers and discharging the duties conferred or imposed on them by or under this Act in relation to inter- State trade and commerce.
• Sec 14(1): The State Govt. may, by notification, appoint a Controller of LM, Addl. Controller, Jt. Controller, Deputy Collector, Asst. Collector, Inspector and other employees for the State for exercising the powers and discharging the duties conferred or imposed on them by or under this Act in relation to intra- State trade and commerce.
• Power of inspection, seizure, etc. under Section 15.
(1) The Director, Controller or any legal metrology officer may, if he has any reason to believe, whether from any information given to him by any person and taken down in writing or from persona (knowledge ~ or otherwise, that any weight or measure or other goods in relation to which any trade and commerce has taken place or is intended to taken place and in respect of which an offence punishable under this Act appears to have been, or is likely to be, committed are either kept or concealed in any premises or are in the course of transportation,-
(a) enter at any reasonable time into any such premises and search for and inspect any weight, measure or other goods in relation to which trade and commerce has taken place, or is intended to take place and any record, “register” or other document relating thereto;
(b) seize any weight, measure or other goods and any record, register or other document or article which he has reason to believe may furnish evidence indicating that an offence punishable under this Act has been, or is likely to be, committed in the course of ~ or in relation to, any trade and commerce.
(2) The Director, Controller or any legal metrology officer may also require the production of every document or other record relating to the weight or measure referred to in sub-section (1) and the person having the custody of such weight or measure shall comply with such requisition.
(3) Where any goods seized under sub-section (1) are subject to speedy or natural decay, the Director, Controller or legal metrology officer may dispose of such goods in such manner as may be prescribed.
(4) Every search or seizure made under this section shall be carried out in accordance with the provisions of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973, relating to searches and seizures.
• Section 16 Forfeiture:
• Sec 16(1): Every non-standard or unverified weight or measure and every package made in contravention of sec 18 used in the course of or in relation to any trade and commerce and seized under sec 15 shall be liable to be forfeited to the State Govt. Provided that such unverified weight or measure shall not be forfeited to the State Govt. if the person from whom such weight or measure was seized, gets the same verified and stamped within such time as may be prescribed.
• Sec 16(2): Every weight, measure or other goods seized under sec 15 but not forfeited under sub sec 1 shall be disposed off by such Authority and in such manner as may be prescribed.
• Sec 18 : Declarations on pre-packaged commodities
Sec 18(1): No person shall manufacture, pack, sell, import, distribute, deliver, offer, expose or possess for sale any pre-packaged commodity unless such package is in such standard quantities or number and bears thereon such declarations and particulars in such manner as may be prescribed.
Sec 18(2): Any advertisement mentioning the retail sale price of a pre-packaged commodity shall contain a declaration as to the net quantity or number of the commodity contained in the package in such form and manner as may be prescribed.
Details to be declared on the packages
Name and complete address of the manufacturer
Name and complete address of the packer, if different from the manufacturer
Common or generic name of the product
The net quantity
Month and year of manufacture
Dimensions of the product, where applicable.
Name, address, telephone number, e-mail address of the person to be contacted in case of consumer complaints
In making the declarations, minimum font size of the text /numerals prescribed under the Rules have to be followed. The font size would depend on the size of the package.
Other main provisions are:
• The words “when packed” should not be used.
• Special provisions are applicable for wholesale packages.
• Retailers should have electronic weighing machine (with printing facility) to enable customers to check the weight of the products offered for sale at the Retail Store.
• Manufacturer has to obtain registration from the Director/Controller of Legal Metrology.
• It is not permissible to affix individual stickers on the package for altering or making the above mentioned details / declarations.
• An explanation has been provided to the effect that existence of packages without the declaration of MRP within the factory premises shall not be treated as violation. However, it should be ensured that all the packages leaving the factory premises has the declaration of MRP.
• Wherever our Brand Name is appearing, we will be treated as “deemed manufacturer”, and we will be responsible for complying with the above said rules, irrespective of the person who manufacturers/packs it.
• The new Act has introduced a provision for nomination of a Director to be responsible for ensuring compliance with the provisions of the Act.
• The penalty for contravention has been increased to Rs.25,000/- for the first offence, Rs.50,000/- for the second offence, and Rs.1,00,000 and/or imprisonment for the subsequent offences.
• Offences under this Act can be compounded only once during a period of three years. Therefore, if the same offence is committed for the second time, we will not be able to compound it and the concerned Director will be forced to appear before the Court.
Verification & Calibration
• Sec 24 : Verification and stamping of weight or measure
(1) Every person having any weight or measure in his possession, custody or control, in circumstances indicating such weight or measure is being, or is intended or is likely to be, used by him in any transaction or for protection, shall, before putting such weight or measure into such use, have such weight or measure verified at such place and during such hours as the Controller may, by general or special order, specify in this behalf, on payment of such fees as may be prescribed.
(2) The Central Govt. may prescribe the kinds of weights and measures for which the verification is to be done through the Govt. approved test center.
(3) The Govt. Approved test center shall be notified by the Central Govt. or the State Govt., as the case may be, in such manner, on such terms and conditions and on payment of such fee as may be prescribed.
(4) The Govt. Approved test center shall appoint or engage persons having such qualifications and experience and collect such fee on such terms and conditions for the verification of weights and measures specified under sub section 2 as may be prescribed.
Author : V S Warrier