PIL filed against The Government Approved Test Centre Rules
The Indian Express dated 05.12.2013 reported that a Writ Petition by way of PIL has been filed by Advocate P. P. Hegde before the Honorable HIGH COURT of Karnataka challenging the said move to sell the Test Centres to private parties and multinationals as unconstitutional and ill motivated.
View the press Release
GATC Guideline: Verify yourself what you repair or manufacture
Following the enactment of the controversial GATC Rules, the Director of Legal Metrology issued a guideline thereon (WM-9(6)/2011 dated 08.10.2013). In fact, this guideline appears to be a modification of the GATC Rules although such guidelines do not have the sanctity of a regular amendment.
Now, A GATC can obtain a repairing license from the State government and may repair weights and measures before putting a stamp of verification. There will not be any third agency to check the quality of repair. Similarly, a manufacture may become a GATC for initial verification of their own weights and measures.
Other salient points:
- An application may be submitted directly to the Director or through the Controller. But, a Controller may offer his views only on Class III and IIII NAWI, Beam Scales, Weights,Counter Machines and Tape Measures within 15 days from the date of issue the letter.
- Controllers may issue experience certificate. But so also some unidentified agencies
- Operational area of a GATC will be equal to the area of an LMO but, it can be extend up to a whole district, if the Director thinks fit
- In the first phase, Automatic Railway Weigh-bridges will not be verified by a GATC. (It may not be lucrative.)
Section 24(1) vis-a-vis 24(2)
GATC Rules have been framed to implement the provisions of Section 24(2) of the Act. Rule 3 specifies that items mentioned under the First Schedule SHALL be verified by GATC.
On the other hand, the Controllers are required under S. 24(1) to issue an order those weights or measures of listed items should be placed for verification before the GATC having local jurisdiction. This will require State Enforcement Rules to be amended accordingly. The states may not be over enthusiastic to amend their Enforcement Rules to accommodate GATCs over whom they will have no control and also the states are set to lose major portion of their estimated revenue.
It will be interesting to know if the present form of State Enforcement Rules, which are contrary to the provisions of section 24(2) will be allowed to continue. The future of GATCs depends on solving this dialectic.
Meanwhile, it will appear that LMOs are not authorized by the provisions of the LM Act on the eve of notification required under section 24(2) coming into force.
It should also be debated whether the GATC Rules can be implemented in phases by a mere guideline, for example, verification of Automatic Rail Weigh-bridges.
View / Download the guideline
The Legal Metrology (Government Approved Test Centre) Rules, 2013 notified
The central government has notified the LM (GATC) Rules, 2013 vide GSR 593(E) dated 05.09.2013. A GATC will now verify weights and measures listed in the Fifth Schedule at the fee prescribed in the Enforcement Rules of the state concerned.
The above table will show that the earlier policy was to introduce GATCs to supplement the infrastructure available at state level for verification of highly technical measuring instruments. The present policy is to allow GATCs to earn maximum profit, at the cost of States, with minimum investment on testing weights, instruments and qualified personnel. This will be a serious blow to state legal metrology setups.GATCs will make havoc of verification work,since, the director and the infrastructure available at his disposal will be grossly inadequate to launch any effective supervision.
View / download the NOTIFICATION
We are presenting our views thereon in parts.
- Set to destroy the legal metrology standards.
- Why it is bad in law.
- How it will affect the licensees from states
The GATC Rules and legal metrology standards
Meanwhile we are awaiting your views and comments, specially from the Legal Metrology Officers of states.
- Weights and measures is a matter of concurrent list of the constitution. The Central Government deals with matters of national policy, but the day to day enforcement of the laws is left with State Governments. But, the GATCs are independent of any supervision of the State Governments.
- Jurisdiction of The Director is limited to matters of inter-state trade and commerce [Section 13(1) of the Act]. He cannot supervise over the GATCs who will verify weights and measures used in intra-state trade and commerce.
- The LM (GATC) Rules overrides or nullifies many provisions of the LM Act and sub-ordinate Rules made thereunder.
- Many provisions of the GATC Rules are vague, superfluous and casual. Such a perfunctory Rule cannot be allowed to be sustained.
- GATC Rules will open flood gatess to non-standard weights and measures which will destroy the public confidence in verified weights and measures.
Do tell us
New Rule 32(3)of the LM Packaged Commodities) Rules - How to implement?
A correspondent from Maharashtra very rightly raises a question whether the new rule, 32(3) of the Packaged Commodities Rules, may be directly implemented by State Governments or the Rule is applicable only in cases of inter-state trade or commerce?
There is no qualm that the Rule is implementable in cases of inter-state trade and commerce by the central government. But, the situation in the states is different. The states have made a schedule for compounding sums for various offenses in their Enforcement Rules. It will be inconsistent with the provisions of the Rule 32(3). Our view is that the states are required to amend their enforcement rules in the light of the new provision. However, we are sceptical whether a Controller is empowered to compound an offence of selling of products for more than MRP. It is an offence under Rule 18(2) punishable under Rule 32(2) which is covered under Section 52(2) of the Act. Section 48(3) of the act which empower a Controller to compound an offence does not include this item. It would have been better, if the provisions could be included under Section 36 itself. But, the government prefers short-cuts and invite unnecessary complications.
What is your views
Rule 5 of the Legal Metrology (Packaged Commodities) Rules, 2011 require that commodities included in the Second Schedule are packed in standard quantities as mentioned in the Schedule. However, the listed commodities may be packed in value based packets of Re 1.00 to Rs. 10.00. (no fraction, please).
- Items not included in the Second Schedule may be packed in any quantities.
- The term "not a standard pack size" shall not be used in any case.
- All packages, including value based packages, must bear the net quantity declaration, whatever it may be, along with other statutory declarations under Rule 6.
- Scheduled items may be packed to offer any free quantity provided it is included in the standard size and the MRP is reduced proportionately.
In news: PC Rules Amended
1st amendment of 2013
The Legal Metrology (Packaged Commodities) Rules,2011 has been amended vide notification no. GSR-359(E) dated 06.06.2013.
View: Details of the AmendmentThe Notification
The Updated Second Schedule
- Definition of "institutional consumer" modified.
- LPG delivery boys to carry weighing instruments to check the content.
- Rule 32 amended to specify compounding amount for violation of Section 29, 36(1) and (2) and selling at more than MRP.
- The Second Schedule now allows more option in packing sizes.
Double stamping - a legal necessity
A manufacturer in Andhra Pradesh gets his electronic balance verified before selling to a customer in Bihar to avoid violating provisions of Section 33 of the LM Act. The user of the machine will still requires verification in his state before use as per provisions of the Rule 27 of the LM (General) Rules, 2011 and Rule 15 of the Bihar LM (Enforcement) Rules, 2011.
In spite of the clear legal position, the Director of Legal Metrology, Government of India has issued a guideline, bearing no. WM-9(23)/2012 dated 31.05.2012, asking the State Authorities to avoid double stamping of weights and measures.
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Legal Metrology Act, 2009 (Act 1 of 2010) and Rules made thereunder
The Central Government has enacted the Legal Metrology Act, 2009. The Central Government has also notified the following Rules made under the Act.
- The Legal Metrology (Packaged Commodities) Rules, 2011
- The Legal Metrology (General) Rules, 2011
- The legal Metrology (National Standards) Rules,2011
- The legal Metrology (Numeration) Rules, 2011
- The Legal Metrology (Approval of Models) Rules, 2011
- The Indian Institute of Legal Metrology Rules, 2011
- The Legal Metrology (Government Approved Test Centre) Rules, 2013
The Legal Metrology Act and the Rules made thereunder will come into force with effect from 1st April 2011.
But, the States could not enforce the the Act and the Rules till their own State Enforcement Rules are framed and notified the date from which they will come into force. But now, all states have their Enforcement Rules and it is very important to follow the rules of your state.
A brief survey of the Act and Rules
The Legal Metrology Act, 2009
The Legal Metrology Act, 2009 repeals and replaces the Standards of Weights and Measures Act, 1976 and the Standards of Weights and Measures (Enforcement) Act, 1985.
The salient points
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- Units of weights and measures to be based on metric system only.
- All weights and measures must follow the prescribed specification and should be verified and also re-verified periodically before use.
- Pre-packaged commodities must bear statutory declarations.
- Registration is required before import of any weight or measure.
- Approval of model is required before manufacture or import of any weight or measure.
- Without license no weight or measure may be manufactured, sold or repaired.
- Specifications for weights and measures have been prescribed under the LM (General) Rules.
- Contents and manner of statutory declarations is available from the LM (Packaged Commodities) Rules.
- Matters relating to approval of model are prescribed under the LM (Approval of Models) Rules.
- Matters related to license and verification are prescribed in the LM (Enforcement) Rules of the state.
The Legal Metrology (Packaged Commodities) Rules, 2011
The Legal Metrology (Packaged Commodities) Rules, 2011 have been framed in pursuance of Section 32 of the Act.
The salient points
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- Maximum Permissible error (MPE) on declared net content of a package should be within limit given under the First Schedule.
- Items enlisted in the Second Schedule should be packed only in quantities mentioned against the item. However, value based packets up to Rs. 10.00 are allowed.
- All pre-packaged commodities for retail sale must bear statutory declarations.
- Stickers are not allowed to make a statutory declaration.
- The MRP cannot be altered once it is printed.
- Registration is required for pre-packing or import of any commodity.
- Retailers covered by VAT or TOT are required to keep an electronic weighing machine where a consumer may check the net content of a package.
- The name and address of the manufacturer or packer or importer.
- The common or generic name of the commodity.
- The net quantity of the content.
- Month and year of manufacturer or packing or import.
- Retail sale price: MRP (including all taxes)
- Size/dimension of the commodity when relevant.
- Name, address and telephone no. of the Consumer complaint Cell.
- Marking "GM" for genetically modified food items.
The Legal Metrology (General) Rules, 2011
The Legal Metrology (General) Rules, 2011 prescribes physical characteristics, configuration, constructional details, materials, performance and tolerance of weights and measures as required under Section 7 (4) of the Act.
The salient points
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- Schedules I to IX prescribes the constructional details, Metrological characteristics and requirements, testing procedures, markings and sealing of different types of weights and measures.
- Procedure for registration of importers of weights and measures.
- Permission to manufacture non-standard weights and measures for export or scientific research.
- Disposal of seized goods.
- Periodical verification of weights and measures.
- Qualification of Legal metrology officers.
- Nomination of a director who will be responsible for conduct of a company.
Nominating a Director
A company may nominate one of its Directors, with his written consent, who will be held responsible for any violation of provisions of the Legal Metrology Act and its sub-ordinate Rules. Such a nomination should be intimated to the Director and Controllers of Legal of Legal Metrology of all states.
However, the company itself will be charged and also any other officer or staff whose connivance, consent or negligence led to the violation of the provisions.
The Legal Metrology (Approval of Models) Rules, 2011
Section 22 of the Act requires that every weight or measure, unless it is exempted, will require approval of its model before it may be manufactured or imported. No license for manufacture or registration before import will be given without approval of a model. Failure to submit a model for approval is a punishable offence.
Certain items are exempted but state government will not approve model of any weight or measure.
The Legal Metrology (Approval of model) Rules, 2011 prescribes the procedure of making an application, submission of a model with drawings, tests to be made, issue of certificate of approval and fees payable for the purpose.
Models are tested at one of the Regional Reference Standards Laboratories (RRSL) located at Bangalore, Bhubneshwar, Ahmedabad, Faridabad and Guwahati.
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Import of weight or measure
If the model of the instrument to be imported is approved in a country which follows the standard based on the recommendations of the OIML, the model may be approved without further tests. But, nevertheless, the application for approval of the model should be made.
View: The Guideline for importers
State Enforcement Rules
Section 53 of the Act requires the states to make rules, after consultation with the Central Government, to carry out the provisions of the Act.
Section 53(2) lists the items on which a state may make rules. Section 53(4) requires the state rules be published in the official gazette of the state before it is enforced.
The Government of India also circulated a model draft Legal Metrology (Enforcement) Rules, 2011 for States/UTs to follow. It was expected that the exercise will ensure uniformity in enforcement rules throughout the country. But, that expectation was belied as the rules vary considerably from state to state.
So, for the exact provision, it is necessary to follow the Legal Metrology (Enforcement) Rules of the state concerned.
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The salient points
- Use of specific types of weights and beam scales in transaction of precious stones and metals.
- Procedure for application, grant and revocation of License for manufacturing, selling and repairing of any weight or measure.
- Records to be maintained and returns to be submitted by a licensee.
- Procedure of verification, inspection, stamping and sealing of weights and measures and issue of Verification Certificate..
- Fees payable for verification
- Fees payable for compounding an offence.
- Standard Formats to be used