Consumer Affairs and Food Distribution

Highlights of the Bill

  • The Legal Metrology Bill, 2008 seeks to repeal the Standards of Weights and Measures Act, 1976 and the Standards of Weights and Measures (Enforcement) Act, 1985.  It also seeks to establish uniform standards of weights and measures, regulate trade in weights, and other goods which are sold or distributed by weight, measure or number.
  • The central government may appoint a Director of Legal Metrology to perform duties related to inter-state trade and commerce.  The state government may appoint a Controller of Legal Metrology to perform duties related to intra-state trade and commerce.
  • A person has to get approval of the model of a weight or a measure before manufacturing or importing it by the prescribed authority.  Also, an importer has to register with the Director. 
  • Every manufacturer, repairer and seller has to obtain a licence from the Controller.  The Bill allows government approved test centres to verify weights and measures. 
  • The central government shall have the power to make rules. 

Key Issues and Analysis

  • The Bill allows a company to nominate one of its directors to be responsible if a company commits an offence.  However, this provision could be misused by a company wherein it can nominate any person as a Director and make him a scapegoat for any offence committed.
  • The appeals procedure does not follow the principal of separation of power because it allows senior government officers to act as an appellate body instead of courts.
  • The Bill is not clear whether imported pre-packaged goods can display other units in addition to the standard unit of weights and measures.   Also, non-metric system is used in land measurement.  
  • The Standing Committee examining this Bill recommended that “government approved test centre” to verify weights and measures should not be allowed; rule making powers should remain with the state governments since local conditions differ from state to state and there should be provision for cognizance of offence. 

Read the complete analysis here