The Legal Metrology Act, 2009 (hereinafter referred to as the "Act") in India, deals with the units and methods of weighment and measurement in relation to the mandatory technical and legal compliances in order to ensure public guarantee from the angle of security and accuracy of the weighments and measurements.1
The Act was introduced to replace the Standard of Weights and Measures Act, 1976 and the Standards of Weights and Measures (Enforcement) Act, 1985. The provisions of the Act came into force on April 1, 2011.
The aim of the Act is to set and enforce the standards of weight and measures, to regulate trade and commerce in weights, measures and other goods sold or distributed by weight, measure or number and to regulate other connected matters.
The Legal metrology (Packaged Commodities) Rules, 2011 (hereinafter referred to as the "Rules") pertain to goods that are packaged and provide the manner in which declarations are to be made and what declarations a packaged commodity meant for to be for sale must contain.
Major Stakeholders under the Legal Metrology Act, 2009
The major stakeholders under the Legal metrology Act are:
- Packers – A packer is defined under Regulatoin 2(g) of the Rules, is defined as a person / Firm, who which pre-packs any commodity in any bottle, tin, wrapper or otherwise, in units suitable for sale whether wholesale or retail.
- Manufacturers – Under Section 2(i) of the Act, "manufacturer" in relation to any weight or measure, means a person who— (i) manufactures weight or measure, (ii) manufactures one or more parts, and acquires other parts, of such weight or measure and, after assembling those parts, claims the end product to be a weight or measure manufactured by himself or itself, as the case may be, (iii) does not manufacture any part of such weight or measure but assembles parts thereof manufactured by others and claims the end product to be a weight or measure manufactured by himself or itself, as the case may be, (iv) puts, or causes to be put, his own mark on any complete weight or measure made or manufactured by any other person and claims such product to be a weight or measure made or manufactured by himself or itself, as the case may be;
- Dealer – Under Section 2(b) of the Act, "dealer", in relation to any weight or measure, means a person who, carries on, directly or otherwise, the business of buying, selling, supplying or distributing any such weight or measure, whether for cash or for deferred payment or for commission, remuneration or other valuable consideration, and includes a commission agent, an importer, a manufacturer, who sells, supplies, distributes or otherwise delivers any weight or measure manufactured by him to any person other than a dealer;
- Importer - The individual, firm or legal entity that brings goods, or causes goods to be brought from a foreign country into a customs territory.
- Repairer – Under Section 2(p) of the Act, "repairer'' means a person who repairs a weight or measure and includes a person who adjusts, cleans, lubricates or paints any weight or measure or renders any other service to such weight or measure to ensure that such weight or measure conforms to the standards established by or under this Act;
Every manufacturer, packer or importer of commodities is required to obtain a registration by filing an application with the Director or the Controller along with submission of its particulars, including but not limited to name, complete address of the premises, name of the commodity, etc. along with the payment of the requisite fees.( Regulation 27 of the Rules)
Mandatory Declarations need to be made under the provisions of the Act
The Rules mandate for the making of declarations on every package intended to be commercialized in the Indian market (Regulation 6 of the Rules), namely:
- name and address of the manufacturer, packer, importer
- common or generic names of the commodity
- net quantity, in terms of the standard unit of weight or measure, of the commodity
- month and year in which the commodity is manufactured or pre-packed or imported
- retail sale price of the package
- sizes/ dimensions of the commodity wherever relevant
Penalties under the Act
Offences and Penalties under the Act are specified in Chapter V:
- Section 27 of the Act provides penalty for manufacture or sale of non-standard weight or measure that shall be punishable with a fine which may be extended to twenty thousand rupees and for the second or subsequent offence with imprisonment for a term which may extend to three year or with fine or with both.
- Section 36(1) of the Act provides penalty for manufacturing, packaging, selling, distributing, importing etc., of non-standard packages that shall be punished with fine which may extend to twenty-five thousand rupees, for the second offence, with fine which may extend to fifty thousand rupees and for the subsequent offence, with fine which shall not be less than fifty thousand rupees but which may extend to one lakh rupees or with imprisonment for a term which may extend to one year or with both.
- Section 36(2) of the Act provides punishment for manufacturing or packing or importing any pre-packaged commodity with error in net quantity as may be prescribed. The punishment may be a fine of not less than ten thousand rupees but which may extend to one lakh rupees or with imprisonment for a term which may extend to one year or with both.
- Section 38 of the Act provides penalty for non-registration by importer of weight or measure. The offence is punishable with fine which may extend to twenty five thousand rupees and for the second subsequent offence, with imprisonment for a term which may be extended to six months, or with fine, or with both.
- Regulation 32 of the Rules imposes penalty on the manufacturer, packer or importer of the commodities for non-registration under the provisions of the Rules or contravention of any other Rules
Compounding of Offences
Section 48 of the Act provides that some offenses may be compounded either before or after the institution of a prosecution on payment of a prescribed sum. However, no offence can be compounded if the same offence or a similar offence has been committed earlier by the person within three years of date of first offence which was compounded.
Offences by Companies
Companies must nominate a person who will be held responsible for the conduct of the company and communicate the same to the Director of Legal Metrology or the concerned controller. When no person is nominated then the person in charge or responsible for the operations of the company are held responsible. The company may be directed by the Court to publish its name along with the offence committed in the newspaper at their own cost.
Appeals can be filed to the next higher authority against all decisions or orders of an officer of legal Metrology within 60 days from the day of the passing of the order or decision.
 Section 2(g) of Legal Metrology Act, 2009.
The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.