Packaged Commodities Rules, 2011

The Legal Metrology (Packaged Commodities) Rules, 2011 has been framed under section 52(2)(j) and (q) of the Act and has, since, been amended several times, the latest being made under Notification bearing no. GSR 359(E) dated 06.06.2013. (1st amendment of 2013)

Applicability of the Packaged Commodities Rules

When a commodity is placed in a package of whatever nature, whether sealed or not and has a pre-determined quantity and which was packed without the purchaser being present, comes within the purview of The Legal Metrology (Packaged Commodities) Rules. To decide whether a commodity comes under the definition of packaged or pre-packed commodities, the following criteria are used:

  • A commodity is paced in a package, sealed or open. It is immaterial if the package is subsequently removed.
  • It was packed when the purchaser was not present to check the quantity packed.
  • The commodity has a predetermined quantity. It comes in some standard quantities or sizes.
The Packaged Commodities Rules are applicable in tandem with provisions of the Food Safety and Standards Act, the Seeds Act, Drug and Cosmetic Rules and State Excise Laws (including Rules made under those Acts).

A brief tour of the ist Amendment Rules of 2013
  1. Previously, the terms "industrial consumer" and "institutional consumer" were defined under explanation to Rule 3. Now, they have been shifted to Rule 2 (Definitions) under items ((bb) and (bc) respectively. The definition of "institutional consumer" shall now read "means any institution which hires or avails of the facilities or service in connection with transport, hotels, hospitals or such other service institutions which buy packaged commodities directly from the manufacturer for use by that institution";
  2. Proviso to Rule 2(k) on the definition of retail package has been omitted.
  3. New Rule on LPG Cylinders
    A new sub-rule, namely, Rule 18(8) has been introduced:
    "(8) (1) All the marketing companies, manufacturers, packers, importers or distributors of Liquified Petroleum Gas cylinder shall maintain a check weigher or non-automatic weighing instrument, digital or analogue, of Accuracy class-III (Max. 50kg, e=10g) to check the weight of the Liquified Petroleum Gas cylinder.
    (2) The marketing companies, manufacturers, packers, importers or distributors referred to in sub-rule (1), shall provide to the delivery man to measure or weigh the correct quantity of the Liquified Petroleum Gas cylinder.
  4. New Rule on compounding of some offenses
    A new sub-rule, namely, Rule 32(3) has been introduced:
    Rule 32(3)(1) Quoting in non-standard units in packages (S. 29) 2000/10,000
    Rule 32(3)(2) Failure to conform to the declaration on packages (S. 36(1)) 5000/25,000
    Rule 32(3)(3) Error in net quantity beyond MPE (S. 36(2)) 10,000/25,000
    Rule 32(3)(4) Selling of products beyond MRP 2000/5,000

    Applicable to retailers/wholesalers/Applicable to manufacturers and importers

  5. The Second Schedule is further amended to allow more packing options in certain items.
    View The Second Schedule, 2013

Provisions of the Legal Metrology Act 2009 regarding Packaged Commodities

  • Section 2(l) of the Legal Metrology Act, 2009 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.
  • It shall be illegal to manufacture, pack, sell, import, distribute, deliver, offer, expose or possess for sale any pre-packaged commodity unless the package is in such standard quantities or number and bears thereon such declarations and particulars in such manner as may be prescribed.
    [Section 18 (1)]
 

  • It is required that any advertisement mentioning the retail sale price of a pre-packaged commodity shall also contain a declaration as to the net quantity or number of the commodity contained in the package.
    [Section 18(2)]
  • It shall be punishable if any pre-packaged commodity is packed with error in net quantity beyond the limit prescribed in the Legal Metrology (Packaged Commodities) Rules, 2011.
    [Section 36(2)]

Be sure to conform to the declarations given on the packages

When you are dealing with packaged commodities in anyway, as manufacturer, packer, importer, distributor, retailer or wholesaler, ensure that the package conform to the declarations given on it. Any false declaration is punishable under Section 36(1) of the Act.

The manner and form of declaration is prescribed in the Legal Metrology (Packaged Commodities) Rules, 2011 made in persuance of requirements of Section 18 of the LM Act. The provisions are effective from the 1st day of April 2011.

An overview of the Legal Metrology (Packaged Commodities) Rules, 2011

Important Definitions

Maximum permissible error

Error in deficiency in the quantity contained in an individual package, permissible up to the limit specified in the First Schedule

Net Quantity

Commodity contained in a package, means the quantity by weight, measure or number of such commodity contained in that package, excluding the packaging or wrapper.

Retail Sale Price

The maximum price at which the commodity in packaged form may be sold to the consumer. The manner of declaring MRP will be 'Maximum or Max. retail price Rs/.......inclusive of all taxes or in the form MRP Rs/ .........incl., of all taxes after taking into account the fraction of less than fifty paisa to be rounded off to the preceding rupees and fraction of above 50 paise and up to 95 paise to the rounded off to fifty paise;

Declaring MRP
  • The MRP may be declared with Rs. or with Rupee Symbol or both.
  • It is permissible to declare MRP - Rs. 17.96, 17.97, 17.98 and 17.99. However Rs 17.95 should be rounded to Rs 17.50.

Retail vs Wholesale Packages
  • Packages containing less than 10 retail packages are not considered wholesale packages.
  • Retail packages need to follow all provisions of the rules, particularly those of Chapter II)
  • Provisions of Chapter II are not applicable to wholesale packages.
  • Retail packages need to be packed in quantities as per Second Schedule and bear all statutory declarations.
  • Wholesale packages may be packed in any quantity and not declare net content, consumer complaint cell, MRP or date of manufacture. But, should declare name and address of the manufacturer/packer, identity of the commodity and total no of packages inside. However, inner retail packets should bear all statutory dec
 

Retail Packages

Packages intended for retail sale to the ultimate consumer and includes imported packages

Wholesale Packages

Packages intended for sale to an intermediary and not to a single consumer directly and which contains several retail packages or bulk quantity for direct sale in smaller quantities.

Packages meant for industrial consumers

Packages meant for use of an industry are exempted from provisions of Chapter II on following conditions:
  • The industry purchase the packages directly from the manufacturer and not through an intermediary.
  • Packages are meant for use of that industry and not for re-sell to ultimate consumers
However, such packages must comply with provisions of Chapter III to VII.

Items Exempted from the provisions of the Packaged Commodities Rules. [Rule 26]

Packages containing

  • the net weight or measure of the commodity in 10 g or ten ml or less, if sold by weight or measure.
  • fast food items packed by restaurant/hotel
  • Scheduled and non-scheduled formulations covered under the Drugs (Price Control) Order,1995
  • Agricultural farm produces in packages of above 50 kg

Chapter II: Applicable to packages intended for retail sale

Rule 3: The provisions of Chapter II [Rules 4 to 23] will not be applicable in following cases:-

  • Packages of commodities containing quantity of more than 25 kg or 25 litre
  • However, in case of cement and fertilizer the limit is bags up to 50 kg;
  • Packaged commodities sold directly by the manufacturers for service industry like transportation [including airways, railways], hotel or any other similar service industry for use by that institution..
  • Packaged commodities sold directly by the manufacturers to an industry for use by that industry.

Rule 5: Commodities to be packed in standard quantities

  • The provision for making "non-standard size" packages will come to end with effect from 01.11.2012
  • Some listed items, mentioned under the Second Schedule will have to be packed in quantities specified in that schedule. The Schedule now offers wider options.
  • Items not included in the Second Schedule may be packed in any quantities or sizes.
  • View the Revised Second Schedule

Value based packages

It is permitted pack value based packets of Re. 1.00 to Rs. 10.00 (whole rupees only) bypassing the Second Schedule.

However, the net content will have to be mentioned

Rule 6: Pre-packages must bear specified declarations

Pre-packed Commodity for sale, distribution or delivery must bear thereon or on a label securely affixed thereto, the following declarations:

  1. The name and address of the manufacturer or packer or the importer.
  2. The name, address, telephone number, e mail address, if available, of the person in charge of consumer complaints.
  3. The generic or common name of the commodity.
  4. The net quantity of the package;
  5. The month and year of manufacture / pre-pack / import.
  6. The retail sale price of the package (MRP)
  7. where the sizes of the commodity contained in the package are relevant, the dimensions of the commodity contained in the package and if the dimensions of the different pieces are different ,the dimensions of each such different piece.

Important Exceptions
  • For packages containing food articles, Clause 1 and 5 will be replaced by provisions of Food Safety and Standards (Packaging and labeling) Regulations, 2011.
  • For packages containing cosmetic products, instead of clause 5, the provisions of the Drugs and Cosmetic Rules, 1945 shall apply.
  • The declaration regarding retail sale price of alcoholic or spirituous liquor, will be as per Laws of the state of origin. In case of no such laws in that state, the provisions of Clause 6 will apply.

None of the above declarations can be put by a sticker but stickers may be used for giving other information not required under the Rules - for example: 25 gm free

How to make declarations

Statutory declarations should comply with provisions of Rule 7 to Rule 16.

  • Every declaration shall appear on the Principal Display Panel
  • Declarations should be legible and prominent. The Net Content and MRP must be very clear.
  • The language shall be English or Hindi in Devnagari Script. Regional languages may be used in addition only.
  • The expression "when packed" to qualify the net content can be used only in case of soaps, lotions and creams (except milk cream)
Principal Display Panel

It means the total surface area of package. All statutory declarations shall be made on it.

It is permitted

  1. to provide all the declarations at one place,
  2. or, to put one set of declaration at one place and others at another place, like Date and MRP at the neck of a bottle or bottom of a packet. These are normally printed online. But, no stickers are allowed.

Export or Import of Packaged commodities

Export Packages

  • Exporters of packages do not require registration.
  • Packages meant for export exclusively do not require any statutory declaration.
  • Such packages cannot be sold in India unless re-packed to conform to the PC Rules

 

Imported Packages

  • Importers of packages require registration u/ Rule 27.
  • Imported packages will have to follow all provisions of the PC Rules.
  • If necessary, the packages must be re-packed to comply with the provisions.

Registration under Rule 27

  • Every manufacturer or packer or importer of packaged commodities require Registration under the Rule 27 within 90 days of starting business.
  • The application for Registration can be made in plain paper with following particulars only -
    1. Name and full address of the Applicant
    2. Complete address of the premise where manufacture/prepack/import is made with name of items dealt there.
    3. List of commodities manufactured/pre-packed-or imported by the applicant.
  • A registration made with the Director or the Controller of any State is valid throughout the country for items and for factories / premises mentioned in the Registration Certificate. Once registration is made, additions and alterations can ne made by filing an application before the same authority.
  • The fee payable for registration is Rs. 500.00 and for addition or alteration Rs. 100.00 only. The Director or the Controller will inform in whose favour the Demand Draft shall be drawn.
View a Model Application Format for registration

Why unnecessary harassment?

  • States are permitted to register but failure to obtain registration is not an offence under the Act but only under the Rule 32. Violation of this provision is punishable under Section 52(3) which cannot be enforced by a State Government. Then, why they send notices for non-registration?
  • Registration is not a license. There is no prescribed format for application. It can be made in plain paper by submitting the required information as required under Rule 27. Then why some states prescribes, without any legal sanction, formats seeking additional information like trade license, income-tax and VAT clearance, ownership of the premises and anything they can conceive of.

    Is the provision of Rule 27 valid?

    Section 18(1) from which the Packaged Commodities Rules have originated, does not require registration as a packer or importer of packaged commodities. Section 52(2)(j) and (q), under which the Rules were framed, also do not mention anything regarding Registration. It appears that framing of the Rule 27 is not supported by any provision of the Act.

    .