Legal Metrology refers to the scientific method of measurement based on experimental and theoretical determinations, subject to the laws and regulations applicable. In India, metrology is governed by the Legal Metrology Act, 2009 (“Act”) which repeals and replaces the Standard Weights and Measures Act, 1976 and the Standards of Weights and Measure (Enforcement) Act, 1985.
Legal Metrology Act- Salient Features
- Approval of Model – As per Section 22 of the Act, approval has to be obtained from the competent authority for the model of weight or measure before manufacturing or importing it.
- License – Section 23 of the Act mandates every manufacturer, repairer and seller to obtain a licence from the concerned Controller.
- Standard Weights, Measures and Numbers– Section 20 of the Act provides that weight or measure imported has to conform to the standard of weight or measured established by this Act and person importing has to be registered with the Director in the manner prescribed. Section 4 the Act mandates every unit of weight or measure to be according to Metric System based on the International System of Units. The base unit of weights and measures provided in Section 5 of the Act is the standard units of weights and measures as per Section 7(1) of the Act. By virtue of Section 6 of the Act, the base unit of numeration be the unit of the international form of Indian numerals, and shall be the standard unit of numeration as per Section 7(2) of the Act. Furthermore, every numeration shall be according to decimal system, and the decimal multiples and sub-multiples of the numerals shall be of such denominations and be written in the manner prescribed.
- Declaration on Pre-packaged Commodities – Section 18 of the Act mandates pre-packaged commodities to bear declaration and particulars in standard quantities or number in the manner prescribed.
- Verification and Stamping – Section 24 of the Act provides that verification has to be done for any weight or measure for use by the person possessing or controlling the same.
- Government Approved Test Centre (GATC)– The Act has introduced GATC for verification of weight or measure under Section 24(2) of the Act. Penalties are given under Section 37 of the Act if GATC contravenes any provisions of this Act, etc.
The various Rules framed under the Legal Metrology Act are as under:
- The Legal Metrology (General) Rules, 2011:
- The Legal Metrology (Packaged Commodities) Rules, 2011
- The Legal Metrology (Approval of Models) Rules, 2011
- The Legal Metrology (National Standards) Rules, 2011
- The Legal Metrology (Numeration) Rules, 2011
- The Indian Institute of Legal Metrology Rules, 2011
- The Legal Metrology (Government Approved test Centre) Rules, 2013
- State Legal Metrology (Enforcement) Rules for the implementation of the Act, 2009.
The link between food packaging and consumer protection is of high significance. A package is a vehicle of safety and achieves the objective of delivering safe, wholesome, nutritious food to the consumer. To safeguard the interests of the consumer and the society at large, Packaging Laws and Regulations have been introduced by the Government. The Indian Regulatory System falls under the category of compulsory legislations formulated by the various ministries and voluntary standards framed by various organisations to serve the country.
The Packaging Laws and Regulations for food products are mainly covered under –
- The Standards of Weights and Measures Act, 1976 and the Standards of Weights and Measures (Packaged Commodities) Rules, 1977 (SWMA).
- The Prevention of Food Adulteration Act, 1954 and the Prevention of Food Adulteration Rules, 1955 and its first ammendment, 2003 (PFA).
- The Fruit Products Order, 1955 (FPO)
- The Meat Food Products Order, 1973 (MFPO)
- The Edible Oil Packaging Order, 1998
- The Agmark Rules