The Supreme Court has issued notice in a plea seeking for directions to the Centre to formulate a law in order to ensure that e-commerce sites and business houses declare the "country of origin" of goods so as to facilitate boycotting of Chinese products.
A Bench comprising of Chief Justice of India SA Bobde, and Justices AS Bopanna and V. Ramasubramanian heard the matter and proceeded to issue notice in the same.
The plea, filed by Advocate Divya Jyoti Singh, came at the heels of the standoff between India and China at Galwan Valley which took place on June 15 and left multiple Indian soldiers dead. It submits that there is a need for the promulgation of a law which will compel e-commerce sites to declare the "country of origin" in a bid to deter consumers from purchasing Chinese products. "There is a wave flowing in the country for boycotting the Chinese products by non-disclosure of the 'Country of Origin' on the web-portals, these giant business houses/e-commerce portals are not only playing with patriotic feelings of the Indians, but are also proving fatal in the efforts of each and every citizen in boycotting the Chinese products and also are blocking the way in promoting the local manufacturers/brands as called for by our Prime Minister so that the country becomes self-reliant as is the need of the hour". It has further been averred in the plea that there is also a need to amend Section 2(9) of the Consumer Protection Act, 2019, which stipulates that the a consumer has the right to be informed about the quality, quantity, potency, purity, standard and price of goods, products or services, as the case may be, so as to protect the consumer against unfair trade practices, to include the "Country of Origin" of the product as well. "One of the imperative rights of a consumer is that they should be aware of the Country of Origin of the product. It is one of the important points that the consumer uses to perceive the product quality as well." The plea submits that as one can always locate the "made in country" label while purchasing a product from a physical store, e-commerce portals surreptitiously do not provide the same and there is no filer disclosing the "Country of Origin". "As on today, when the entire country is united and standing together showing allegiance to the motherland, as an effect of the loss of lives of our soldiers owing to the India-Chinese conflict in the Ladakh region and thus are running a nationwide campaign pertaining to the boycott of all the Chinese products/applications like TikTok etc. through which China generates revenues". In light of the above, the petition prays for directions to formulate a law which makes it mandatory for e-commerce portals like Amazon, FlipKart, Snapdeal etc. to disclose and display the Country of Origin for all goods sold in India in a manner which is legible for all consumers, or for the amendment of Section 2(9) of the CoPrA, 2019 to add that the consumer's right shall also include the right of the consumer to know the "Country of Origin" on e-commerce portals.