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Mis-interpretation of Section 36(1) of the Legal Metrology Act, 09

It is reported that Legal Metrology Officers of various states are booking cases under Section 36(1) for violations of provisions of Section 18(1) of the Legal Metrology Act of 2009. But, the former is not the penal provision of the second. Violations of Section 18(1) may be dealt only in accordance with the provisions of Rule 32(2) of the L. M. (Packaged Commodities) Rules, 2011 and not under Section 36(1) of the Act.

 

Section 18(1) requires that all packages must bear declarations [given under Rule 6 of the L.M. (Packaged Commodities) Rules]. Whereas, Section 36 (1) requires that the packages must conform to the declarations given thereon. These are two duistinctly separate issues.

There ia clear deviation from the earlier provision of Section 51 of the SoWM (Enforcement) Act of 1985. This section required that packages must conform to the provisions of the Standard Act and Rules made thereunder. This shift in the intention of the legislature deserves to be fully appreciated.

In News

Regional Laboratories to receive applications for Approval of Models of Weights and Measures

Now the recognized Laboratories (RRSLs) may receive the applications from the manufacturers of weights and measures of their regions directly for testing of models for which the facility is available with that laboratory. The notification has been issued vide S.O. 824(E)dated 19.03.2014 of the Consumer Affairs Department, GOI.

View the Notification along with formats for application.

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

Some other writ petitions have been filed before the Honorable Hugh Courts of Andhra Pradesh and Kolkata.

The Legal Metrology (Government Approved Test Centre) Rules, 2013 notified

It has been the policy of the Union Government to privatize functions, as many as possible, that have hitherto been in the public domain. In persuance of the policy, the government has notified the LM (GATC) Rules, 2013 vide GSR 593(E) dated 05.09.2013. Government Approved Test Centres, owned and run by private entrepreneurs, will now verify weights and measures listed in the First Schedule at the fee prescribed in the Enforcement Rules of the state concerned.

The First Schedule include Tape Measures, NAWI of Accuracy Class IIII and III (up to 160 kg), Beam scales, Counter Machines and weights of all categories.

View / download the NOTIFICATION

GATC Rules: abracadabra

GATC Rules have been framed in persuance of provisions of Section 24(2) and (3) of the Act. But, in doing so, the provisions of Section 24(1), which empowers only State Controllers to fix where the weights and measures will be verified, were overlooked.

A faux pas where State legal Metrology Officers continue to verify weights and measures although Rule 3 of GATC Rules specifies that items mentioned under the First Schedule SHALL be verified by GATC.

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.

Salient features

  • 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[Rule 18(2)].
  • The Second Schedule now allows more option in packing sizes.
View: Details of the Amendment || The Notification || The Updated Second Schedule

analysis

Legal Validity of the New Rule 32(3)of the LM Packaged Commodities) Rules

A correspondent from Maharashtra 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?

Firstly, we find that amendment has been been made in exercise of power conferred by Section 52(2)(j) of the Act. This provision is related to manner in which packages shall bear declarations. Provisions for determination of compounding amount does not come under this sub-rule. It should have come under Section 52(3)(r).

 

More importantly, the states have made a schedule for compounding sums for various offenses in their Enforcement Rules, in exercise of powers given under Section 53(2)(f). This has been duly notified in the respective State Gazettes. The states are now required to amend their Enforcement Rules if they desire to follow the provisions of Rule 32(3).

Standard Packages

teaboxRule 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 allowed).

There is no scope, any longer, to pack in non-standard sizes and declare "Non-standard size under the Legal Metrology (Packaged Commodities) Rules, 2011.

Points to remember

  • 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.

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.

Read More ...

View: The Guideline

No escape

Bought in A.P. used in Bihar

doublestamping
acts_and_rules

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

Commencement

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

  • 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.

Read More ...
Sub-ordinate Rules

  1. Specifications for weights and measures have been prescribed under the LM (General) Rules.
  2. Contents and manner of statutory declarations is available from the LM (Packaged Commodities) Rules.
  3. Matters relating to approval of model are prescribed under the LM (Approval of Models) Rules.
  4. 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

  • 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.

Read More ...
Statutory Declarations

  1. The name and address of the manufacturer or packer or importer.
  2. The common or generic name of the commodity.
  3. The net quantity of the content.
  4. Month and year of manufacturer or packing or import.
  5. Retail sale price: MRP (including all taxes)
  6. Size/dimension of the commodity when relevant.
  7. Name, address and telephone no. of the Consumer complaint Cell.
  8. 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

  • 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.

Read More ...
Nominating a Director

Section 49

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.

Read More ...
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.

Read More ...
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