Weights and Commodities

27 September 2007

 A brief introductory overview of “The Standards of Weights and Measures (Packaged Commodities) Rules 1977” along with guidelines and precautions for stakeholders.

The Standards of Weights and Measures (Packaged Commodities) Rules 1977 were enacted to regulate the use of correct weighing and measuring instruments in production, trade and commerce and to ensure that the exact weight, measure and number of any commodity is provided to any customer as contracted for. It also safeguards consumers’ interest by ensuring mandatory declarations on packaged commodities.

With a view to provide a coherent scheme and uniform standards of Weights & Measures, the first Act, namely Standards of W&M Act 1956, was enacted based on the metric system and international system of units recognized by OIML – International Organization of Legal Metrology. With regard to keeping pace with rapid advances made in the field of science and technology all over the world, CGPM evolved a practical system of units known as SI units (Le Systeme International d’Units) to facilitate working. It includes seven base units, two supplementary units and about 50 derived units emanating from six primary units established by the 1956 Act. The OIML, responsible for preparation of international laws on legal metrology, prepared the draft of legislation for enactment by member countries adopting metric convention. India is one of the members of OIML.

The Rules have tried to incorporate the principal of accountability and responsibility for the products and commodities produced and imported by manufacturers and traders.

Every package kept, offered for sale or sold, shall bear conspicuously on it, the name and complete address of the manufacturer, or where the manufacturer is not the packer, the name and address of the manufacturer and the packer and in case of imported packages, the name and address of the importer. The complete address shall mean the postal address at which the registered office of the manufacturer is situated or the factory is situated, and, in any other case, the name of the street, number (if any) assigned to the premises of the manufacturer or packer, and either the name of the city and State where the business is carried on by the manufacturer or packer or the Postal Index Number (PIN) Code so that a consumer can identify and locate the manufacturer or packer, as the case may be.

In case of packages of capacity 5 cubic cm or less, it shall be a sufficient compliance of this sub-rule, if a mark or inscription which would enable the consumer to identify the manufacturer or packer or the importer, as the case may be, is made on the package:

Where any commodity manufactured outside India is packed in India, the package shall also contain on the principal display panel, the name and complete address of the packer or the importer in India. The name of the manufacturer or packer or importer shall be the actual corporate name, or if not incorporated, the name under which the business is conducted by such manufacturer or packer or importer in India.

In addition to the disclosure mechanism stated above, the Rules further restrict the application of individual stickers or labels on the package for altering or making any declaration as may be required under the Rules. A sticker or label for reducing the maximum retail price of a product may be affixed; however, this sticker should not cover the declaration made by the manufacturer or the packer on the label of the package.


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