Standards of Weights and Measures

The Standard of Weights and Measures Act, 1976 was enacted to establish standards of weights and measures, to regulate inter-state trade or commerce in weights, measures and other goods which are sold or distributed by weight, measure or number, and to provide for matters connected therewith or incidental thereto. The Act extends to the whole of India.
 
SALE AND DISTRIBUTION OF GOODS IN PACKAGED FORM
 
When commodities are sold or distributed in packaged form in the course of inter-State trade or commerce, it is essential that every package must have a:
  1. Plain and conspicuous declaration thereon showing the identity of the commodity in the package,
  2. The net quantity in terms of the standard units of weights and measures and if in nos., the accurate number therein,
  3. The unit sale price of the commodity and the sale price of that particular package of that commodity.
  4. The names of the manufacturer, and also of the packer or distributor, should also be mentioned on the package.

In this regard the Packaged Commodities Rules were framed in 1977. These Rules extend to the whole of India and apply to commodities in the packaged form which are, or are intended or likely to be sold, distributed or delivered or offered or displayed for sale, distribution or delivery or which are stored for sale, or for distribution or delivery in the course of inter-state trade and commerce.

Exemptions

The rules do not apply to:
  1. Packages for the exclusive use of any industry as a raw material, or for the purpose of servicing any industry. Mine or quarry provided:
    1. Their net contents are more than 5 kg. Or 5 ltrs. And they are not displayed for sale at retail outlets;
    2. It is not yarn sold to handloom weavers;
    3. It is not a component, part or material used for servicing any vehicle covered under the Motor Vehicles Act, 1939; and
    4. The package does not contain any commodity sold by number or length and displayed for sale at retail outlet;
  2. Commodities (excluding any drug or medicine) whose net weight is 20 gms or less or 20 mililitres or less, if sold by weight or measure;
  3. Any package containing fast food items packed by restaurant / hotel and the like;
  4. Drugs covered under the Drugs (price control) order, 1995
  5. Agricultural farm products in packages of above 50 kg.
Further, the Central Government may, on an application being made, permit manufacturer / packer to pack for sale the following types of pre-packed commodities for a reasonable period, relaxing any or all the provisions of these rules:
  1. Introductory packs;
  2. Innovation packs;
  3. Trial packs;
  4. Promotional packs;
  5. Packages on which corrective action is to be taken after a compounding or a court decision or other genuine reasons.

Packages For Retail Sale

  1. Packaged commodities meant for retail sale, distribution or delivery shall contain items only in standard quantities as specified in the Third Schedule to the Rules.
  2. Every package shall bear thereon or on a label securely affixed thereto, a definite, plain and conspicuous declaration giving the name and address of the manufacturer or where the manufacturer is not the packer, the name and address of the manufacturer and packer, the name and net quantity of the commodity in weight, measure or number, as the case may be, the month and year in which the commodity is manufactured is manufactured or pre-packed, the retail sale price of the package. Where size of the commodity is relevant, the dimensions thereof shall also be given in the package.
  3. Besides, every package shall bear conspicuously the name and address of the manufacturer; where the manufacturer is not the packer, the package shall bear the name and address of the manufacturer and the packer; and where the commodity is manufactured outside India but is packed in India, the package shall also contain the name and complete address of the packer in India.
  4. Certain commodities have been exempted from the printing of the declaration of sale price. These are -uncanned package of vegetables, fruits, fish or meat.
  5. With effect from 1.1.1996, in case of soft drinks, ready to serve fruit beverages, or the like, the retail sale price shall be printed either on the crown cap, or on the bottle or on both.
  6. The Rules specify the size of letter, etc. of the principal display panel on packages so that the details provided thereon can be easily examined by the customer.
  7. Any manufacturer or packer of Vanaspati, ghee and butter oil, shall declare the net quantity by weight with its equivalent in volume or vice versa w.e.f. 1.7.1995.
WHOLESALE PACKAGES
 
Every wholesale package shall bear thereon a legible, definite, plain and conspicuous declaration giving the name of the manufacturer or of the packer, the identity of the commodity contained in the package and the total number of retail packages contained in that wholesale package or the net quantity in terms of the standard units of weight, measure or number of the commodity

Packages For Export

Every package for export shall have conspicuous declaration that it is intended for export and the name and address of the manufacturer or packer, provided the importer has no objection to such indications.
 
In addition, the identity of the commodity contained and its net weight, measure or number shall also be declared on the package.
 
Where an export package contains two or more individually packaged or labeled pieces of the same or different commodities, the number and description of such individual packages and the net weight, measure or number of commodities in each, shall also be clearly displayed.
 
Every country and an export package shall not be sold in India unless the manufacturer or packer has repacked or re-labeled the commodity for domestic sale.

Packed Commodities Imported into India

All pre-packed commodities imported into India shall carry:
  1. Name and address of the importer,
  2. Generic or common name of the commodity packed,
  3. Net quantity in terms of standard unit of weight and measure without applying standard sizes prescribed under Third Schedule,
  4. Month and year of packing in which the commodity is manufactured or packed or imported, and retail sale price.
  5. Importer shall be responsible for making these mandatory declarations in either of the following manners:
    1. printed on a label securely affixed to the package; or
    2. made on an additional wrapper and imported package may be kept inside the additional wrapper; or
    3. printed on the package itself; or
    4. made on a card or tape affixed firmly to the package or container and bearing the required information.

Price Tags and Stickers

  1. No manufacturer, packer, wholesales or retail detailer shall sell any packaged commodity at a price exceeding its retail sale price.
  2. Where any tax payable in relation to a packaged commodity is revised, it shall not be sold at a price exceeding the revised retail sale price, communicated by the manufacturer or packer.
  3. The manufacturer or packer shall communicate by at least two advertisements in the newspaper, such price revision- whether increase or decrease of any pre-packed commodity.
  4. The revised retail price shall be charged in relation to packages which were pre-packed in the month in which such tax has been revised or fresh tax has been imposed or in a month following thereto.
  5. Where the revised prices are lower than the price marked on the package, the commodity shall be sold at the revised price irrespective of the month of packing.
  6. The retail sale price of any packed commodity indicated on the package or a label affixed thereto, shall not be obliterated, smuggled or altered by any person.
  7. No additional label should be stuck on a package even with manufacturer's logo or trademark. However, affixing of a price sticker to indicate a retail sale price less than the MRP declared by the manufacturer is not a violation of the Rules, provided that the declaration made by the manufacturer is not obliterated.
The manufacturer or packer shall not alter the price on a wrapper once printed and used for packaging.

Offences and Penalties


OFFENCE
PENALTY
1 Use of non-standard weights or measures, or numeration. 1
Imprisonment upto 6 months, or fine upto Rs. 1000/- or both. For second or subsequent offence, imprisonment upto 2 years and also fine.
2 Quotation, etc in non-standard weights and measures 2 Fine upto Rs. 2000/-. For the second or subsequent offence, imprisonment for a term upto 3-years and also fine.
3 Sale, etc of un-verified weights and measures 3

Fine upto Rs. 10,000/-. For the second or subsequent offence imprisonment upto 7 years and also fine.

4 Sale etc. of packaged goods not conforming to provisions of Sec. 39 4
Fine upto Rs. 5000/- . For second or subsequent offence imprisonment upto 5 years and also fine.
5 Contravention of any other provision of the Act 5
Fine upto Rs. 2000/-

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