MEANING OF LEGAL METROLOGY
Legal Metrology deals with units and methods of measurement and weighment in relation to the mandatory technical and legal requirements. The application of legal requirements to measurements and measuring instruments is Legal Metrology.
Legal Metrology protects and ensures public safety, the environment, security and accuracy of the weights and measurements and it is essential for fair trade.
According to section 2(g) of the Legal Metrology Act,2009 “Legal Metrology” means that part of metrology which treats units of weighment and measurement, methods of weighment and measurement and weighing and measuring instruments, in relation to the mandatory technical and legal requirements which have the object of ensuring public guarantee from the point of view of security and accuracy of the weighments and measurements;
THE LEGAL METROLOGY ACT,2009
The department of Legal Metrology comes under the Department of Consumer Affairs, food and public distribution of Government of India. The Legal Metrology Act, 2009 has replaced the Standards of Weights and Measures Act,1976 and the Standard Weights and Measures (Enforcement) Act, 1985.
The Legal Metrology Act,2009 came into force on April 1, 2011. It regulates the uniformity of weights and measures along with trade and commerce related to weights, measures and the goods sold and distributed via weighing, measurement and numbers.
The Department of Consumer Affairs is responsible for the implementation of the act. The Act contains total of five chapters with 57 sections.
THE SALIENT FEATURES OF THE ACT
- The Act specifies the metric system as the units of weights and measures that must be in accordance with the international system of units.
- The basic units of weights and measures are specified under section 5 of the Act.
- Any custom, practice, usage or method apart from the method prescribed in the Act that is contrary to the act shall be void.
- The Act empowers the Central Government to frame rules when required.
- The Act provides the Union Government power to appoint a Director of Legal Metrology; and empowers the State Government to appoint a Controller of Legal Metrology.
- Importers must register themselves with the concerned director.
- All the manufactured, repairers and sellers must obtain a license from the respective Controller.
- Any non-standard weights and measures shall not be imported.
OBJECTIVES OF THE LEGAL METROLOGY ACT,2009
- To govern weights and measure trade and commerce.
- To establish and enforce weight and measurement standards.
- Weights, measurements, or numbers are used to govern the manufacturing, sale, and usage of items.
- To rationalise the Indian Metric system (metre, kilogram, etc.).
FUNCTIONS OF LEGAL METROLOGY
- Protect consumers from dishonest and corrupt traders.
- Provides regulations for the control of weights, measurements and measuring instruments.
- Grant and renew licenses of manufacturer, repairers and dealers of weights and measures.
- Inspections, seizures and raid are conducted by officials to eliminate the illegal and non-standards weights and measures.
- All users of weights, measures and measuring instruments must have them certified every year. All the manufacturers, repairers and dealers of weights and measures are issued licenses by the organisation which must be renewed annually.
LEGAL METROLOGY REGISTRATION AND LICENSING
Legal Metrology registration under the Ministry of Consumer Affairs is mandatory for any person dealing with weighing and measuring instruments.
Legal Metrology registration can be applied in three capacities:
For products that relate to weight and measurement like Weighing Machine fall under the category of weight & measurement, need to take 5 stage registration from the Legal Metrology department
- Model Approval
- Packaged Commodity Registration
- Import License
- Dealership License
- Stamping of products
BENEFITS OF THE LEGAL METROLOGY ACT REGISTRATION
- Reduces the cost of transactions
When measurements are followed correctly in accordance with all the regulations and requirements of the Legal Metrology Act, it saves cost and time.
- The supporting trade
Legal Metrology Act keeps a check on any illegal or unfair trade activities. It ensures that the measuring instruments are in good functioning condition and are in accordance with the regulations.
- Obtaining government funds
Excise duties on products manufactured, sold, imported and exported and tax on measurements are utilised by the government to generate money. The Legal Metrology Act makes sure that the government and businesses are treated fairly when it comes to tax payments.
- Reduces trade barriers on a technical level
The Legal Metrology Act reduces the burden of technical restrictions and improves measuring confidence and clarity. A merchant can avoid unnecessary hurdles in the adoption, application, and assessment of technical rules, standards, and conformity assessment procedures by using the Legal Metrology Act.
- Increase consumer’s confidence
When the consumers realize that they are receiving a product that is in compliance with the norms and laws, their trust and faith in the business grows, which leads to healthy and strong trading relationship.
PROCEDURE FOR REGISTRATION
- The procedure for registration is defined under Rule 15 of the Legal Metrology (General) Rules,2011. Cost structure is defined under twelfth schedule and the application format is explained under tenth schedule.
- Import of standard weights and measures, or sections of them is possible.
- Merchants and producers must register themselves as importers with the Director of Legal Metrology, Government of India.
- The application must be filed with the Director of Legal Metrology in the required form, through the State Controller, at least one month before the import, along with the statutory charge of Rs.100.
- The Controller then sends the application along with a report on the importer’s predecessors and technological capabilities
- The registration is valid for 5 years and it can be renewed every 5 years.
WHO NEEDS TO REGISTER?
Importing/manufacturing/packaging of packaged goods registration
Rule 27 of the Legal Metrology (Packaged and Commodities) Rules,2011 states that every importer, maker, or packer of packaged commodities must register themselves.
Importing weights and measurements registration.
Section 19 of the Legal Metrology Act
No person has the power to import any weight or measure unless he has registered with the Director in the authorised manner and paid the required fees.
Section 38 of the Legal Metrology Act
No person has the power to engage in the activity of importing any weight or measure without being registered under the Act, if any violates the provision, the person shall be fined up to Rs. 25,000 for the second or consecutive crime, as well as imprisonment for up to six months.
RULES UNDER LEGAL METROLOGY ACT,2009
- Legal Metrology (General) Rules,2011
Under this rule, 40 different types of weighing and measuring devices such as electronic weighing instruments, weighbridges, fuel pumps, water meters, sphygmomanometer, clinical thermometers, are covered. The weighing and measuring devices are checked on regular basis by the State Government.
- The Legal Metrology (Packaged Commodities) Rules, 2011
The Pre-packed commodities are regulated under this rule. It mandates certain labelling requirements prior to the sale of the commodity. These rules are specifically applicable to the dealers engaged in buying, selling, supplying and distributing of packaged products.
- The Legal Metrology (Approval of Models) Rules,2011
This tule was formed by the Central Government under the Legal Metrology Act,2009 to define the standard measures or numbers, and specify the setting up of labs to conduct tests for the approval of the models which shall be notified by the government. Certain manufacturers/packers or retailers importing weighing and measuring equipment must take approval of the government of the products which are specified in the Legal Metrology Act and the accompanies rules and procedures.
- The Legal Metrology (National Standard) Rules, 2011
This rule defines the specifications of base units of different measurements for e.g., time, length, mass; and different standards; and times of verification of the norms.
- The Legal Metrology (Numeration) Rules,2011
This rule specifies how numbers should be written and the procedure of numeration
- Indian Institute of Legal Metrology Rules,2011
The Indian Institute of Legal Metrology is established in Ranchi that provides training to Legal Metrology officers. The rule specifies the courses offered at the institute, obligatory functions of the institute, qualification for persons who are eligible for admission.
- The Legal Metrology (Government Approved test centre) Rules, 2013
The government approved Test Centre (GATC) Rules govern the approval of GATCs created by private individuals for the verification of certain weights and measures by State Government Officers. The weights and measures specified under these rules with regard to the verification by a GATC are:
- Water meter,
- Clinical Thermometer,
- Beam Scale,
- Weights of all Categories.
State of Telangana v Himjal Beverages Pvt. Ltd.
One of the landmark cases pertaining to Legal Metrology in India as the Telangana High Court in this matter examined the nature, scope and object of several provisions of the Legal Metrology Act 2009 and the Legal Metrology (Packaged Commodities) Rules 2011. In this landmark case, certain Kinley water bottle were seized from the respondent’s storage who was an authorised contract packer of M/s Hindustan Coco-Cola Beverages Pvt. Ltd. The respondent also prepares packaged beverages in authorised containers under the trademark of Coco-Cola company and sells under Kinley brand name with full authorisation. The officers of Legal Metrology Department conducted inspections and found out that there was violation and non-compliance of requirement under Rule 6(2) of the Legal Metrology (Packaged Commodities) Rules 2011 which states that every package shall bear the name, address, telephone, number, email address of the person who can be or of the office which can be contacted in case of consumer complaints. Subsequently, the department seized the packaged bottles and prepared a Panchnama report. The learned single judge had passed an order setting aside the order made by the Legal Metrology department by interpreting the provisions of the Act and rules purposely.
This was a landmark case as the Telangana High Court had interpreted various provisions of the Act and the rules and in lieu of the same the Court inspected the history, statement and reasons of the Act and the objectives in detail in order to conclude on the correct manner of interpretation for the Act. The Court used the “Literal Interpretation” while interpreting Rule 6(2) stating that the same is drafted by the Legislature in public interest and intended for the benefit of the consumers. The Court held that the Rule 6(2) holds a mandatory nature and the case at hand is a clear violation of the compliance requirements under Rule 6.
The legal metrology laws and regulations were framed to provide guidelines for controlling weights and measurements and its instruments.
Legal metrology laws also protect the consumers and provides basic safety to the public, the traders, manufacturers and ensures fair trade.
Commercial’s The Legal Metrology Act,2009
The Legal Metrology Act,2009 by Justice P.S.Narayana’s
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