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Delhi High Court Tells Centre To Evolve Mechanism For Regular Checks Of "E-Commerce Sites" For Compliance Of Legal Metrology Rules

LIVELAW NEWS NETWORK
7 April 2022 11:15 AM GMT
Delhi High Court Tells Centre To Evolve Mechanism For Regular Checks Of E-Commerce Sites For Compliance Of Legal Metrology Rules
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The Delhi High Court on Thursday asked the Central government to come up with a proper mechanism for conducting periodical checks of e-commerce platforms and ensure their compliance with various laws pertaining to display and packaging of products.The Court was hearing a public interest litigation seeking direction to the Respondents, including Ministry of Consumer Affairs Food &...

The Delhi High Court on Thursday asked the Central government to come up with a proper mechanism for conducting periodical checks of e-commerce platforms and ensure their compliance with various laws pertaining to display and packaging of products.

The Court was hearing a public interest litigation seeking direction to the Respondents, including Ministry of Consumer Affairs Food & Public Distribution, to ensure display of details like MRP of the product, seller details including GST number, name of manufacturer, country of origin of product, etc. on the e-commerce websites.

The petitioner, Ajay Kumar Singh, through his counsel argued that even though the Respondent authorities have admitted to non-compliance by the private Respondents (e-commerce entities), no concrete action has been taken thus far.

The Centre responded that it is not treating this matter as adversarial and notices have been issued to non-compliant e-commerce entities. However, the Bench comprising Acting Chief Justice Vipin Sanghi and Justice Navin Chawla responded,

"But if there is non-compliance, you have to take action. You should have your own mechanism, there should be vigilance. Why should you depend on the Petitioner? You should keep a track on initial offenders, apart from conducting regular inspections."

The Petitioner had alleged non-compliance of Legal Metrology Act, 2009, Legal Metrology (Packaged Commodities) Rules, 2011 and Consumer Protection (E-Commerce) Rules 2020 by several e-commerce websites.

Rule 6 of the 2011 Rules provides that every package shall bear thereon retail sale price of the package; month and year in which the commodity is manufactured or pre-packed or imported; the name and address of the manufacturer and/ or packer and the importer; name, address, telephone number, e mail address, if available, of the person who can be or the office which can be, contacted, in case of consumer complaints; etc.

Rule 5 of the 2020 Rules provides that every marketplace e-commerce entity shall provide information to its users about the sellers offering goods and services, including the name of their business, whether registered or not, their geographic address, customer care number, etc.

Rule 6 thereof provides that all sellers shall provide all relevant details about the goods and services offered for sale by them including country of origin which are necessary for enabling the consumer to make an informed decision at the pre-purchase stage.

Upon a perusal of the same, the Bench ordered,

"The Respondents number 1 and 2 have not yet put in place a mechanism for conduct of regular checks on periodical basis of all e-commerce sites to ensure compliance with aforesaid rules. Respondents should examine this aspect and place before this Court a mechanism that they wish to evolve to ensure compliance on a regular basis. Respondents should also file a status report with regard to notices issued to several e-commerce sites."

Also Read: 'Citizen Has Right To Know Place Of Manufacture' : Plea In Gujarat HC To Reveal Country Of Origin Of Products Sold Via E-Commerce

The Court has granted 6 weeks' time for filing of affidavit and 4 weeks thereafter to the Petitioner for filing rejoinder.

The matter will now be heard on 24th November.

Case Title: Ajay Kumar Singh v. Union of India & Ors.

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