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LEGAL METROLOGY ACT, 2009

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LEGAL METROLOGY ACT, 2009
By: Mr. M. GOVINDARAJAN
January 29, 2011

    Legal Metrology Act, 2009 was enacted with the objectives to establish and enforce standards of weights and measures, regulate trade and commerce in weights, measures and other goods which are sold or distributed by weight, measure or number and for matters connected therewith or incidental thereto.  This act replaced the Standards of Weights and Measures Act, 1976 and the Standards of Weights and Measures (Enforcement) Act, 1985.

     The terms ‘legal metrology’ is defined under Sec. 2(g) of the Act as the 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 weightments and measurements.

STANDARD WEIGHTS AND MEASURES:

     Sec. 4 of the Act provides that every unit of weight or measure shall be in accordance with metric system based on the international system of units.   The base unit of weights and measures as per Sec. 5 is as follows:

  • Length – metre;
  • Mass – kilogram;
  • Time – second;
  • Electric current – ampere;
  • Thermodynamic temperature – Kelvin;
  • Luminous intensity – candela;
  • Amount of substance – mole.

     Sec. 6 of the Act provides that the base unit of numeration shall be the unit of international form ofIndianumerals.   Every numeration shall be made in accordance with the decimal system.   The decimal multiples and sub-multiples shall be of such denominations and be written in such manner as may be prescribed.   Sec.7 provides that the base units of weights and measures shall be the standard units of weights and measures.   The base unit of numeration shall be standard unit of numeration.  For the purpose of deriving the value of base, derived and other units the Central Government shall prepare or cause to be prepared objects or equipments in such manner as may be prescribed.   The physical characteristics, configuration, constructional details, materials, equipments, performance, tolerance, period of re-verification, methods or procedures of tests shall be such as may be prescribed.

     Sec. 8 of the Act provides that any weight or measure which conforms to the standard of such weight or measure and also conforms to such of the provisions of Sec. 7 as are applicable to it shall be the standard of weight or measure.   Any numeral which conforms to the provisions of Sec. 6 shall be the standard numeral.  It further provides that no weight, measure or numeral, other than the standard weight, measure or numeral shall be used as a standard weight, measure or numeral.  No weight or measure, shall be manufactured or imported unless it conforms to the standards of weight or measure specified under this Section.  The provisions of Sec. 8 shall not apply for manufacture done exclusively for export or for the purpose of any scientific investigation or research.   Sec. 12 provides that any custom, usage, practice or method of whatever nature which permits a person to demand, receive or cause to be demanded or received any quantity of article, thing or service in excess or less than, the quantity specified by weight, measure or number in the contract or other agreement in relation to the said article, thing or service, shall be void.

REFERENCE, SECONDARY AND WORKING STANDARD:

     Sec. 9 provides that the reference standards, secondary standards and working standards of weights and measures shall be such as may be prescribed.   Every reference standard, secondary standard and working standard shall be verified and stamped in such manner and after payment of such fee as may be prescribed.   Every reference standard, secondary standard and working standard which is not verified and stamped in accordance with the provisions shall not be deemed to be a valid standard.

USE AND PROHIBITION:

     Sec. 10 provides that any transaction, dealing or contract in respect of any goods, class of goods or undertakings shall be made by such weight, measure or number as may be prescribed.  Sec. 11 deals with the prohibition of quotation etc., otherwise than in terms of standard units of weight, measure or numeration.   This Section provides that no person shall, in relation to any goods, things or service –

  • quote, or make announcement of, whether by word of mouth or otherwise, any price or charge, or
  • issue or exhibit any price list, invoice, cash memo or other document, or
  • prepare or publish any advertisement, poster or other document, or
  • indicate the net quantity of a pre-packaged commodity, or
  • express in relation to any transaction or protection, any quantity or dimension,

     otherwise than in accordance with the standard unit of weight, measure or numeration.  The provisions of Sec. 10 will not be applicable for export of any goods, things or service.

OBLIGATIONS OF MANUFACTURERS:

     Sec. 17 provides that every manufacturer, repairer or dealer of weight or measure shall maintain such records and registers as may be prescribed.  The same shall be produced at the time of inspection to the persons authorized in this behalf.

     Sec. 18 imposes an obligation to manufacture, pack, sell, import, distribute, deliver, offer, expose or possess for sale any pre packaged commodity in such standard quantities or number and bears thereon such declarations and particulars in such manner as may be prescribed.   Any advertisement mentioning the retail sale price of a pre packaged commodity shall contain a declaration as to the net quantity or number of the commodity contained in the package in such form and manner as may be prescribed.

     Sec. 19 provides that no person shall import any weight or measure unless he is registered with the director in such manner and on payment of such fees, as may be prescribed.

     According to Sec. 20 no weight or measure, whether singly or as a part or component of any machine shall be imported unless it conforms to the standards of weight or measure established by or under this Act. 

     Every person, as per Sec. 22 of this Act, before manufacturing or importing any weight or measure shall seek the approval of model of such weight or measure in such manner, on payment of such fee and from such authority as may be prescribed.   Such approval of model may not be required in respect of any cast iron, brass, bullion or carat weight or any beam scale, length measures which are ordinarily used in retail trade for measuring textiles or timber, capacity measures, not exceeding twenty litre in capacity, which are ordinarily used in retail trade for measuring kerosene, milk or potable liquors.  The prescribed authority, if he is satisfied that the model of any weight or measure which has been approved in a country outside India conforms to the standards established by or under this Act, approve such model without any test or after such test as he may deem fit.

LICENCE:

     Sec. 23 provides that no person shall manufacture, repair or sell, or offer, expose or possess for repair or sale, any weight or measure unless he holds a licence issued by the Controller.  No licence to repair shall be required by a manufacturer for repair of his own weight or measure in a State other than the State of manufacture of the same.  The Controller shall issue a licence in such form and manner, on such conditions, for such period and such area of jurisdiction and on payment of such fee as may be prescribed.

VERIFICATION AND STAMPING:                     

     Sec. 24 provides that every person having any weight or measure in his possession, custody or control in circumstances indicating that such weight or measure is being, or is intended or is likely to be, used by him in any transaction or for protection, shall, before putting such weight or measure into such use, have such weight or measure verified at such place and during such hours as the Controller may, by general or special order, specify in this behalf, on payment of such fees as may be prescribed.

     The Central Government may prescribe the kinds of weights and measures for which the verification is to be done through the Government approved Test Centre. 

 INSPECTION, SEIZURE ETC.,

     Sec. 15 gives powers to the Director, Controller or any legal metrology officer, if he has any reason to believe, whether from any information given to him by any person and taken down in writing or from personal knowledge or otherwise, that any weight or measure or other goods in relation to which any trade and commerce has taken place or is intended to take place and in respect of an offence punishable under this Act appears to have been, or is likely to be, committed are either kept or concealed in any premises or are in the course of transportation:

  • to enter at any reasonable time into any such premises and search for and inspect any weight, measure or other goods in relation to which trade and commerce has taken place, or is intended to take place and any record, register or other document relating thereto;
  • to seize any weight, measure or other goods and any record, register or other document or article which he has reason to believe may furnish evidence indicating that an offence punishable under this Act has been, or is likely to be, committed in the course of, or in relation to, any trade and commerce;
  • to require the production of every document or other record relating to the weight or measure and the person having the custody of such weight or measure;
  • to dispose any goods which are subject to speedy or natural decay in such manner as may be prescribed;

     Sec. 16 of the Act deals with forfeiture.  Every non standard or unverified weight or measure and every package made in contravention, used in the course or in relation to, any trade and commerce and seized shall be liable to be forfeited to the State Government.  Such unverified weight or measure shall not be forfeited to the State Government if the person from whom such weight or measure was seized gets the same verified and stamped within such time as may be prescribed.    Every weight, measure or other goods seized but not forfeited shall be disposed of by such authority and in such manner as may be prescribed.

OFFENCES AND PENALTIES:

     The following are the penalties imposable under this Act for contravention of respective provision:

  • Sec. 25 – Penalty for use of non standard weight or measure – Fine up to Rs.25,000/-; for the second or subsequent offence – imprisonment up to six months and with fine;
  • Sec.26 – Penalty for alteration of weight and measure – Fine up to Rs.25,000/-; for the second or subsequent offence – imprisonment – not less than six months but may extend to one year or with fine or with both;
  • Sec. 27 –  Penalty for manufacture or sale of non standard weight or measure – Fine up to Rs.25,000/-; second or subsequent offence – imprisonment up to three years or with fine or with both;
  • Sec. 28 – Penalty for making any transaction, deal or contract in contravention of the prescribed standards – Fine up to Rs.10,000/-; for the second or subsequent offence – imprisonment for a term up to one year or with fine or with both;
  • Sec. 29 – Penalty for quoting or publishing etc., of non standard units – Fine up to Rs.10,000/-; second or subsequent offence – imprisonment up to one year, or with fine or with both;
  • Sec.30 – Penalty for transactions in contravention of standard weight or measure – Fine up to Rs.10,000/-; second or subsequent offence – imprisonment up to one year, or with fine or with both;
  • Sec. 31 – Penalty for non production of documents etc., - Fine up to Rs.5,000/-; second or subsequent offence – imprisonment up to one year and also with fine.
  • Sec. 32 – Penalty for failure to get model approved – Fine up to Rs.25,000/-; second or subsequent offence – imprisonment up to one year and also with fine;
  • Sec. 33 – Penalty for use of unverified weight or measure – Fine up to Rs.10,000/-; second or subsequent offence – imprisonment up to one year and also with fine;
  • Sec. 34 – Penalty for sale or delivery of commodities etc., by non standard weight or measure – Fine Rs.2,000 to Rs.5,000; second or subsequent offence – imprisonment 3 months to one year, or with fine, or with both;
  • Sec.35 – Penalty for rendering services by non standard weight, measure or number – Fine Rs.2,000 to Rs.5,000; for the second and subsequent offence – imprisonment 3 months to one year, or with fine or with both;
  • Sec. 36 – Penalty for selling etc., of non standard packages – Fine up to Rs.25,000/-; for the second offence – fine up to Rs.50,000/-; subsequent offence – fine Rs.50,000 – Rs.1,00,000 or with imprisonment up to one year or with both;
  • Sec. 37 – Penalty for contravention by Government approved Test Centre – Fine up to Rs.1,00,000/-; in case of employee of test centre – imprisonment up to one year or with fine up to Rs.10,000/- or with both;
  • Sec. 38 – Penalty for non registration by importer of weight or measure – Fine up to Rs.25,000/-; for the second and subsequent offence – imprisonment up to six months or with fine or with both;
  • Sec. 39 – Penalty for import of non standard weight or measure – Fine up to Rs.50,000/-; for the second and subsequent offence – imprisonment up to one year and also with fine;
  • Sec. 40 – Penalty for obstructing Director, Controller or legal metrology Officer – imprisonment up to two years; for the second and subsequent offence imprisonment up to 5 years;
  • Sec. 41 – Penalty for giving false information or false return – Fine up to Rs.5,000/-; for the second or subsequent offence – imprisonment up to six months and also with fine;
  • Sec. 42 – Vexatious search – imprisonment up to one year or with fine up to Rs.10,000/- or with both;
  • Sec. 43 – Penalty for verification in contravention of Act and Rules – imprisonment up to one year or with fine up to Rs.10,000/- or with both;
  • Sec. 44 – Penalty for counterfeiting of seals etc., - imprisonment  6 months to one year; for the second and subsequent offence – imprisonment 6 months to five years;
  • Sec. 45 – Penalty for manufacture of weight and measure – Fine up to Rs.20,000/-; second or subsequent offence – up to one year or with fine or with both;
  • Sec. 46 – Penalty for repair, sale etc., of weight and measure without licence – Fine up to Rs.5,000/-; for the second and subsequent offence – imprisonment up to one year or with fine or with both;
  • Sec. 47 – Penalty for tampering with licence – Fine up to Rs.25,000/- or with imprisonment up to one year or with fine or with both;

COMPOUNDING OF OFFENCES:

     Sec. 48 deals with the compounding of offences punishable under Section 25,Sections 27 to 39, Sections 45 to 47 or any rule made either before or after the institution of the prosecution on payment for credit to the Government of such sum as may be prescribed.  Such sum shall not exceed the maximum amount of the fine which may be imposed under this Act for the offence so compounded.  This is not available to person who commits the same or similar offence, within a period of three years from the date on which the first offence, committed by him, was compounded.  Any second or subsequent offence committed after the expiry of a period of three years from the date on which the offence was previously compounded, shall be deemed to be a first offence.    Where an offence has been compounded no proceeding shall be taken against the offender in respect of the offence so compounded.

 APPEALS:

     Every appeal shall lie from-

-         every decision or order under Sections 15 to 20, Sec. 22, Sections 27 to 39, Section 41 or any rule made there by the legal metrology officer;

-         every decision or order made by the Director under Sections 15 to 20, Section 22, Sections 27 to 39, Sec. 41 or any rule made ;

-         every decision given by the Controller to the Central Government;

-         every decision given or order made under Sections 15 to 18, sections 23 to 25, sections 27 to 37, sections 45 to 47 or any rule made by any legal metrology officer appointed to the Controller.

Every appeal shall lie within sixty days from the date on which the impugned order was made.  The appellate authority may, if it is satisfied that the appellant was prevented by sufficient cause from preferring the appeal within the said period of sixty days, permit the appellant to prefer the appeal within a further period of sixty days.  The appellate authority shall, after giving the parties to the appeal, a reasonable opportunity of bearing heard and after making such inquiry as it deems proper, make such order, as it may think fit, confirming, modifying or reversing the decision or order appealed against or may send back the case with such direction as it may think fit for a fresh decision or order after additional evidence, if necessary.  

 
By: Mr. M. GOVINDARAJAN - January 29, 2011
 
 
 

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