The government has amended a key provision in the Legal Metrology Rules, which previously empowered officers to initiate prosecution against directors of companies even for minor offences relating to weights and measures.

 

About the ‘Legal Metrology Rules, 2003’

  • Legal Metrology is defined as the legal requirements that are required to be fulfilled for governance over the utilisation of standard weights and for any source of instruments that are utilised for the purpose of measurements.
  • Legal Metrology is regulated by the Legal Metrology (Packaged Commodities) Rules 2011.
  • The main aim of this Rule is to ensure that a public guarantee is being provided for the terms of determining the security and accuracy of Weighments and Measurements.
      • Establishment of standards of weight and measure is included in Union List (entry 50).
      • Enforcement of laws with respect to weights and measures (legal metrology) is mentioned in Concurrent list (entry 33A).

 

What are the mandatory provisions under 2011 rules?

  • To ensure a number of declarations, such as 
        • The name and address of the manufacturer or packer or importer,
        • The country of origin,
        • The common or generic name of the commodity,
        • The net quantity,
        • The month and year of manufacture,
        • The Maximum Retail Price (MRP) and
        • Consumer care information.
  • All pre-packaged commodities should be inspected.
  • The principal display panel (in relation to a package), means the total surface area of a package containing the information required.
  • All the information should be grouped together and given in one place.
  • The declaration on the package must be legible and prominent.
  • The consumers’ ‘right to be informed’ is violated when important declarations are not prominently displayed on the package.
  • If there is more than one major product, the name or number of each product shall be mentioned on the package.
  • However, this is not applicable to mechanical or electrical commodities.

 

What is the new amendment?

  • The government has amended a key provision in the Legal Metrology Rules, which previously empowered officers to initiate prosecution against directors of companies even for minor offences relating to weights and measures.
  • Section 49 of the Legal Metrology Act allows the companies to nominate any of its directors as a person responsible for the business of the company.

 

Rationale behind this amendment

  • This was amended with an aim —
      • To end the inspector raj;
      • To improve ease of doing business;
      • To stop harassment of top directors or owners of the companies for small violations in weights and measures.
  • The earlier provision had become a tool for harassment as the inspectors in state legal metrology departments would slap notices on the directors and owners.
  • The change will also reduce compliance burden.