By Rupin Chopra and Shantam Sharma
The Ministry of Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution, has on 6th October, 2023 issued a notification under the Department of Consumer Affairs, introducing amendments to the Legal Metrology (Packaged Commodities) Rules, 20111 (for brevity “Rules”). This objective of the amendment is to ensure informed consumer experience through more accurate measurement and labeling of packaged goods in India and is called “Legal Metrology (Packaged Commodities) (Amendment )Rules, 2023.”2
Legal Metrology (Packaged Commodities) (Amendment )Rules, 2023- Key Points
The notification introduces the following amendments to the Rules:
- New definition for packages:
- “Combination Package”- means a package intended for retail sale, containing two or more individual packages, or individual pieces, of dissimilar commodities
- “Group Package”- means a package intended for retail sale, containing two or more individual packages, or individual pieces, of similar, but not identical (whether in quantity or size) commodities.
- “Multi-Piece Package” – means a package containing two or more individual packaged or labelled pieces of the same commodities of identical quantity, intended for retail sale, either in individual pieces or the package as a whole
As per the notification, declaration of ‘Unit Sale Price’ is not required for Combination Packages, Group Packages, or Multi-Piece Packages. Also, for packages containing food articles, the provisions of the Food Safety and Standards Act, 2006 and the rules made thereunder shall apply. These new definitions shall be effective from 1st January 2024.
- The notification amends Rule 6 sub-rule 1 clause (d) [Declarations to be made on every package- month and year in which the commodity is manufactured] to introduce the following:
- Spare parts and accessories used for servicing with a warranty and not intended for sale to end customers are exempt from the declaration of the month and year of manufacture; and
- For electronic products, the declaration of the month and year of manufacture must be clearly visible on the retail package.
In the aforementioned point, the term “spare parts and accessories” includes any part, component, or accessory that complements the main product of a machine, device, or equipment, whether sold separately for repair or replacement, ensuring the intended operation of the machine or device. This new amendment shall be effective from 1st April 2024.
- The notification also introduces amendment to Rule 26, Clause (f) item (iii) [Exemption in respect to garment or hosiery is sold in loose or open at the point of sale– sizes with internationally recognizable size indicators such as S, M, L, XL, XXL and XXXL along with details in metric notation in terms of cm or m, as the case may be] of the Rules:
- The new requirement states that the size of the product must be mentioned in metric notation, which means in terms of centimeters (cm) or meters (m), depending on the case;
- Internationally recognized size indicators such as S, M, L, XL, XXL, and XXXL should be used, along with specific details in metric notation (cm or m); and
- For commodities ordered through e-commerce channels where consumers already know what they are ordering, including the type and quantity of the product, such commodities must provide the following information:
- Name and address of the manufacturer, marketer, brand owner, importer, or seller, along with the country of origin or manufacture, especially for imported products;
- Consumer care contact information, including an email address and phone number;
- The retail sale price of the package, which should include all applicable taxes, and it must be specified in the Indian currency; and
- The net quantity of the product, expressed in terms of the standard unit of weight or measure. If the commodity is sold by a count (e.g., items per package), the exact count must be clearly mentioned.
In essence, these amendments ensures that consumers ordering loose commodities through e-commerce have access to essential information about the product, its source, price, and quantity, which helps in making informed purchasing decisions. These new amendments shall be effective from 1st January 2024.
- Further, in Fourth Schedule [Manner in which declaration of quantity shall be], item 11 [Edible oil, Vanaspati ghee and butter oil] column 3 of the Rules the following amendment has been introduced:
“the entry ‘weight or volume and if the net quantity is declared by volume, the net quantity shall also be declared by weight’
In simple terms, it means that the label or packaging should include information about the weight or volume of the product. Additionally, if the net quantity of the product is declared based on volume (e.g., liters or milliliters), then this net quantity in volume must be clearly specified on the label or packaging. This new amendment shall be effective from 1st January 2024.
1 Available at: https://consumeraffairs.nic.in/sites/default/files/uploads/legal-metrology-acts-rules/Amendment%20of%20PCR%20ext%20till%2031.12.2023.pdf
2 Available at https://consumeraffairs.nic.in/sites/default/files/uploads/legal-metrology-acts-rules/2023.10.6%20amendment%20in%20PCR.pdf