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VERIFICATION OF WEIGHTS & MEASURES UNDER THE LEGAL METROLOGY ACT

December 6, 2021
Government notifies Legal Metrology

By Rupin Chopra and Apalka Bareja

Introduction

In a bid to provide consumers with confidence and security when buying products, the Legal Metrology Act, 2011 (“the Act”) was brought to regulate trade and commerce by standardizing weights and measures throughout the country. One of these measures is verification and stamping of weights and measures. This article aims to guide traders on the rules and practices to follow on this subject.

Legal Metrology Act, 2011

The primary provision for verification and stamping of weights or measures is Section 24 to the Act. It provides as follows –

“24. Verification and stamping of weight or measure.—

(1) 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 requirements to fall under the purview of the aforementioned definition are twofold –

  1. Having a weight or measure in possession, custody or control
  2. Such measure is intended or is likely to be used in a transaction or for protection

This Section has caused some fuss, as industrial manufacturing enterprises have often been inspected, inviting a relook of the terms ‘transaction’ and ‘protection’. Under Section 2(u) of the Act ‘transaction’ has been described –

“2. (u) “transaction means”

  • any contract, whether for sale, purchase, exchange or any other purpose, or
  • any assessment of royalty, toll, duty or other dues, or
  • the assessment of any work done, wages due or services rendered;”

Further, “protection” has been described –

“2. (k) “protection” means the utilization of reading obtained from any weight or measure, for the purpose of determining any step which is required to be taken to safeguard the well‐being of any human being or animal, or to protect any commodity, vegetation or thing, whether individually or collectively;”

Hence, only wherever the process of buying-selling, exchange, etc. or a process of reading any weight or measure is taking place for the protection of the consumer, the weight or measure so used shall be required to be verified.

Notably, this means that weights or measures that are being used within industrial premises, or used for any intermediary processes during production, will not be required to be verified. This has also been clarified by the Legal Metrology Division of the Department of Consumer Affairs via a press note dated 6 May 2014.[1]

Government Approved Test Centres

As per Section 24(2) of the Act read with the Legal Metrology (Government Approved Test Centre) Rules, 2013,[2] specified measures and weights are required to be verified at Government Approved Test Centres. These are –

  1. Water meter
  2. Sphygmomanometer
  3. Clinical Thermometer
  4. Automatic Rail Weighbridges
  5. Tape Measures
  6. Non-automatic weighing instrument of accuracy class IV/class III (up to 150kg)
  7. Load cell
  8. Beam scale
  9. Counter Machine
  10. Weights of all categories

Reverification

Reverification is mandatory and prescribed under the Legal Metrology (General) Rules, 2011.[3] Rule 27 states reverification must be carried out on the completion of –

  1. twenty-four months for all weights, capacity measures, length measures, tape, beam scale and counter machine,
  2. sixty months for storage tanks, and
  • twelve months for all weight or measure including tank lorry other than that aforementioned.

Additionally, any repair, dismantling or reinstallation must require reverification prior to use.

Penalties

Under Section 33 of the Act, usage of an unverified weight or measure entails a minimum fine of ₹2,000 and a maximum of ₹10,000 for the first offence. Subsequent offences shall entail imprisonment which may extend up to one year, with fine. Similar penalties also exist for usage of non-standard weights and measures.

Conclusion

Notably, these requirements are applicable to all persons, irrespective of the size of the undertaking. Smaller businesses must buckle up, a surprise visit by the Controller might just be around the corner.

[1] Press Note – Clarification issued by the Legal Metrology Division of the Department of Consumer Affair regarding verification & stamping of weights & measures used for any intermediatery processes in the industries during industrial production under the Legal Metrology Act, 2009 (6 May 2014) <https://mofpi.nic.in/sites/default/files/Legal_Metrology.pdf.pdf> accessed 02.12.2021.

[2] The Legal Metrology (Government Approved Test Centre) Rules, 2013, Notification No. GSR 593(E), Department of Consumer Affairs, Ministry of Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution <https://consumeraffairs.nic.in/sites/default/files/uploads/legal-metrology-acts-rules/gatc.pdf> accessed 02 December 2021.

[3] Legal Metrology (General) Rules, 2011, Notification No. G.S.R. 71(E), Department of Consumer Affairs, Ministry of Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution <https://consumeraffairs.nic.in/sites/default/files/uploads/legal-metrology-acts-rules/6_0.pdf> accessed 02 December 2021.

Suyash Bajpai, Intern at S.S. Rana & Co. has assisted in the research of this article.

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