MLF seminar on understanding legal metrology: Know Your Rights - Get the Correct Price and Quantity

Short delivery, excess demand and overpricing are offences and lead to penalties, if consumers file a complaint


What remedies does a consumer have when she gets less than what she has paid for in terms of weights or measures? Does she have a right to have the price and weight displayed on a packaged product? What are her remedies when she is cheated? The issue affects everybody, but few know that the law provides a forum under the Legal Metrology Organization (Weights & Measures) (LMO).


Moneylife Foundation invited inspector general (IG) Sanjay Pandey, controller of the LMO, who has breathed new life into this low-profile organisation, to explain the Legal Metrology Act and its wide scope. He said, “The main role of the Organization is to protect consumers’ interest by surprise visits or inspections at premises of traders, packers, importers, packaging units and industries, to verify the accuracy of weights and measures as well as to check the net contents effected by them. Short delivery, excess demand and overpricing are offences against the society. LMO keeps a strict vigil on the offenders and enforces the provisions of law by firm hands.”


“We are looking into three areas. One, how builders sell property on square foot basis and how registrars are registering it on sq ft basis. Second, defining call duration standards for telecom companies. How these companies measure the seconds? It is certified by the authorised government agency. Third, digital measurement, i.e., how companies are selling GB or MB—who certifies it and how? Soon you will see some action in these areas,” he added.


Mr Pandey said, “Consumers can file complaints regarding charging higher than maximum retail price (MRP), using non-standard weights, weighing lesser than actual weight, and MRTP violations, at our office. We have set up a helpline (022-22886666) and consumers can even send an e-mail to [email protected]


Deterrent penal provisions are prescribed for errant traders and other persons under the Legal Metrology Act. Such offenders are brought to book and punished accordingly. There is a provision in the Act to compound prosecution cases at the department level if the offender has committed an offence for the first time. Under such circumstances, the authorities impose compounding fees upon the offender and the matter is settled at the department level. However, if the option is not exercised by the offender to get it compounded at the department level, then the case is sent to the judicial magistrate first class (JMFC) or a metropolitan court. In that case, it attracts the provision of Criminal Procedure Code as it is treated as criminal case.


According to Mr Pandey, even builders who are selling properties using sq ft, instead of sq metres, for measurement can be booked under the Act. “This is because, in 1956, the Indian government passed a Standards of Weights and Measures system to introduce metric system based on Punjab Act. The metric system began in October 1958, making metric weight mandatory by October 1960, and the metric measures mandatory by April 1962 banning all other systems.”


“Puranik Builders published an advertisement that promised 45 sq ft free. We then issued a notice to them. Now, the advertisement says 45 ‘smiles’ instead of 45 sq ft. But let me make it clear again that no builder can sell property on square foot basis as it is illegal.


Under the metric system, it can be sold only on square metre basis. We have written to Maharashtra Housing and Development Authority (MHADA) and are gathering more information on this,” he added.


He also shared an interesting incident, where a magistrates court in Latur levied a fine of Rs4,000 after Hindustan Unilever pleaded guilty under the Legal Metrology Act and Rules. HUL had published an advertisement giving MRP of one of its products without its net quantity. The sum paid by HUL is trivial; however, the company will have to mention the conviction in all its statutory and regulatory filings. In addition, since the company has pleaded guilty, there is no scope for it to file an appeal and have the conviction overturned.


Mr Pandey advised that while buying any pre-packaged commodity, consumers need to check the mandatory declarations. These include:


a) Name and address of the manufacturer or packer or importer.


b) Generic name of the commodity.


c) Net quantity in terms of standard units of weight or measure or number.


d) Month and year in which a commodity is manufactured or packed or imported.


e) Retail sale price of package in the form of maximum retail price inclusive of all taxes or in the form of MRP Rs......inclusive of all taxes.


f) For complaint redressal, every package shall have the name, address, telephone number and email if available, of the person of the company.


Often, consumers are charged more than the MRP of a product. Sometimes, there is an alteration in the printed MRP. Under the Act, both these are offences. “Even MRP printed without mentioning ‘inclusive of all taxes’ amounts to an offence and if consumers approach our department for these violations, we will immediately initiate appropriate action,” he added.


According to Mr Pandey, if packaged water suppliers have a special price for airlines or five-star hotels, which is printed on the bottles sold there, the customer has to pay the higher price. Answering several queries on this issue, Mr Pandey said, “Since they sell at MRP, we cannot initiate any action. However, if they charge more than the MRP printed, we can certainly initiate an action against them.” Earlier, in October, the LMO conducted several raids on companies, dealers and owners of CNG and LPG filling stations. It was found that over 20 CNG and LPG filling operators across Mumbai, Thane and Navi Mumbai, had not bothered to use the dispensers (regular pumps) approved by the government.


“Our department realised that the dispensers were not fit enough to serve the consumers and they could possibly swindle them. Hence, we decided to conduct surprise checks. Our department has seized 20 dispensers and disciplinary process has been initiated against the dealers in the court of law,” Mr Pandey said.


The session ended with Mr Pandey sharing his email and mobile number with activists and concerned citizens and asking them to file complaints and report violations. Several activists did, indeed, follow up with a visit to the LMO office in Mumbai. You too can write to Legal Metrology, Maharashtra at [email protected] or to IG Sanjay Pandey at [email protected]



Chitranjan Singh

2 years ago


RIL signs JV with Chinese textile major Ruyi

Reliance Industries' latest JV promises to shake up a staid textile sector, in the first significant Indo-China industry co-operation since PM Modi's visit


In a statement today, Reliance Industries Limited said that it was entering into a joint venture with Shandong Ruyi Science and Technology Group Co. Ltd, China, known as Ruyi. RIL said that it would transfer its existing textile business, which is the founding business of RIL and operates under the well-known brand ‘Vimal’, into a newly incorporated company under the JV. 
The statement said that, “RIL will own a majority 51% in the proposed JV, with the balance 49% owned by Ruyi. The proposed transaction is subject to obtaining requisite approvals.”
Ruyi operates in India under the ‘Georgia Gullini’ brand in the worsted suiting segment of the market. This business operation and activities would get realigned to strengthen the JV. The statement said that Ruyi owns numerous brands that it sells worldwide.
Ruyi, said the statement, had revenues of around $3 billion, with a presence in America, Europe, Japan, Australia, New Zealand and China. 
“The JV will build on RIL’s existing textile business and wide distribution network in India as well as Ruyi’s state-of-the-art technology and its global reach. The JV will benefit from the strength of the ‘Vimal’ and ‘Georgia Gullini’ brands and plans to introduce some of the well-known global brands of Ruyi,” RIL's statement said.
Nikhil R. Meswani, Executive Director, Reliance Industries Ltd., was quoted by the release as saying, “Our joint venture with Ruyi Group will help Reliance reposition its textile business on a high growth path. Our partner’s deep commitment and global reach in textile business will enable this JV to harness the growth potential of the Indian market and emerge as a global textile player.”


Nifty, Sensex may bounce back a little: Tuesday closing report

Nifty is likely to bounce back, but it may be a short-lived rebound


In Monday’s closing report, we had mentioned that NSE’s CNX Nifty will remain weak. The negative sentiments of the international markets adversely affected Indian stocks. The Nifty opened marginally higher at 8,439, compared to Monday’s close of 8,438.25. The index barely crossed the 8,440 mark in the morning session and was soon pulled down. It continued on a downward trend from there on. In the post-lunch session, Nifty fell sharply and went on to hit an intra-day low of 8,330.50 and closed at 8,340.70 a few minutes later.
The 30-stock S&P BSE Sensex, followed the same trend. After opening at 28,134.22, about 15 points higher than the previous day’s close, the index went on to hit a high of 28,157.53. The bearishness soon set in. The Sensex gradually declined to a low of 27,763.82 and closed at 27,797.01. Out of the 30 stocks, 28 stocks of the Sensex closed in the red.
Oil prices continued to fall on Tuesday, which affected international markets. Oil futures were trading at their lowest level since 2009. On the New York Mercantile Exchange, crude oil (January 2015) futures hit a daily low of $62.30 a barrel, the weakest level since July 2009. 
Back home, ONGC fell by nearly 5% to close at Rs352 on the BSE, after hitting its seven-month low of Rs351. Other stocks that were the worst-affected were Sesa Sterlite (-5.24%), Tata Power (-4.21%), NTPC (-3.54%) and Tata Steel (-3.43%).
Despite an increase in the current account deficit (CAD) in the second quarter of the current fiscal, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, in the Rajya Sabha during Question Hour, said there is no cause for concern as forex reserves are comfortable. India's CAD narrowed down from 4.7% in FY2012-13 to 1.7% in FY2013-14 due to a lower trade deficit as a result of modest recovery in exports and a sharp fall in imports, particularly gold imports. He further mentioned that excise duty hike on November 12 and December 2 will fetch the exchequer Rs6,000 crore and Rs4,500 crore respectively in the remaining months of FY2014-15.
All the sectors were negatively hit. Among the sectoral indices of the NSE, the top five performers were CNX Pharma (-0.25%), CNX IT (-0.34%), CNX FMCG (-0.91%), CNX Finance (-1.05%) and CNX Service (-1.08%). The bottom five sectors were CNX Metal (-2.80%), CNX Infra (-2.78%), CNX PSU Bank (-2.56%), CNX Media (-2.32%) and CNX Commodities (-2.26%).
The BSE reported a turnover of Rs3,040 crore with 3,038 scrips traded, while the NSE reported a turnover of Rs16,148 crore. Of the stocks traded on the BSE, as many as 2,045 stocks declined while 897 stocks gained.
The rupee depreciated further to Rs61.9025/$ down 0.11% from the previous day’s close of Rs61.8375/$. India’s 10-year benchmark bond yield closed lower at 7.90% from 7.92% yesterday. Gold prices in the international market climbed above the $1,200-level, as investors began selling-off their equity holdings.
Most of the major world indices either closed down or were trading in the red. China’s Shanghai Composite closed 5.31% down at 2,859, its biggest one-day loss since August 2009, amid economic concerns in the country. China’s 2015 GDP growth forecast is expected to be lowered to 7% and liquidity fears regarding new corporate bond market restrictions have been erupting. Australia’s S&P ASX 200, which closed earlier, was down 1.68%. UK’s FTSE was trading 1% down at 6,593. 
In Atlanta, Federal Reserve Bank President, Dennis Lockhart said on Monday, that he saw no rush to alter the central bank's policy statement, that there remains a "considerable time" before the first interest rate increase. US Futures were in the red during early trade on Tuesday. European markets were trading deeply in the red and premarket futures in the US were lower.


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