In India, the import, sale, and distribution of pre-packaged goods are all governed by the Legal Metrology Act 2009 and Legal Metrology (Packaged Commodities) Rules, 2011. A pre-packaged product is any item assembled in advance and packaged without any customer. A significant impression of consumer awareness and a decrease in unfair trade practices involving such products are created by registration under this Act. The Act regulates the exchange of items distributed or sold by weight, measure, or number. The Act aims to encourage fair trade practices and safeguard consumer rights by establishing stringent rules and regulations, notably for pre-packaged goods.
What are Pre-Packaged Goods?
According to the Act, a pre-packaged good is "put in a packaging of any sort, whether sealed or not, such that the product has a pre-determined quantity" without the customer being present. Pre-packaged products include, for instance, baby food, gasoline, food items, paint, bagged cement, cables, wires, chemicals, wool, and so forth.
Underlining the Importance of Legal Metrology
Metrology is a science of measurement, to put it simply. The major highlight of Legal Metrology is on limitations placed on the trade of items classified as "weights and measures," such as thermometers and weighing scales. Legal Metrology governs the trade of packaged items measured by weight, measure, or number.
Customers have a right to information about package weight, price, expiration date, and other items when they buy pre-packaged goods from the market. Therefore, legal metrology is crucial for advancing ethical business operations.
Below-mentioned is some significant aspects highlighting the significance of legal metrology in modern trade:
Promoting Trade by Eliminating Disputes
Trade conflicts are eliminated when the measurement is subject to regulatory monitoring. For instance, if a customer purchases 1 kilogram of lentils, they should receive exactly that amount and nothing less. Legal metrology also ensures catering to international standards using fundamental measuring tools.
Appropriate Management of Inventory
Correct commodity evaluation procedures give manufacturers a precise breakdown of their available inventory. This improves stock control, reduces fraud, and helps manage stock systems more effectively.
Collection of Government Revenues
The collection of excise and customs duties, which comprise most of the government's revenue, depends critically on measurement. Products made in the nation are subject to excise duty, while commodities imported from other manufacturing countries are subject to customs duty.
Therefore, accurate product weighing enables the legitimate collection of these government revenues.
The Controller of Legal Metrology in the state or the Director of Legal Metrology in the federal government must receive an application from traders who intend to import pre-packaged goods for sale or distribution in order to have their name and address registered. If the application is approved, the director/controller of legal metrology (the registering authority) will register the importer's name and address and issue them an LMPC certificate. Here is an example of an LMPC certificate. The duration of an LMPC registration ranges from one year to five years.
You must submit an application to the controller in that state if you want to sell your pre-packaged items in just that state. You must register with the director at the Centre through your regional controller if you intend to sell in numerous states.
Responsibilities of an LMPC-certified Importer/Manufacturer
All pre-packaged goods must include a declaration from the importer or producer that includes the following details:
Address and Name of manufacturer and importer
Name of Goods contained in the package
Country of import
Total quantity of with respect to standard units of weights or measurement
Date of import
Maximum Retail Price (MRP)
Dimension of goods
Contact details of a concerned person or office in case of any consumer complaints
The declaration must adhere to a predetermined structure in order to be presented on the box, whether it is printed in Hindi or English.
The Legal Metrology Packaged Commodity Rules include fines of up to Rs. 4,000 for violations. Additionally, a late fee will be assessed if an importer requests for an LMPC certificate more than 90 days after beginning imports.
Where Should We Apply for LMPC Certificate?
The Legal Metrology Department in Delhi has an online application platform for applicants who have a business unit there. Manufacturers, importers, and packers must pay a registration cost of Rs. 500; dealers and repairers must pay a registration charge of Rs. 100. However, there are a few crucial factors to take into account before sending the form:
However, depending on the state where the registration is being looked for, additional documents might be required, such as:
According to the regulations, the application must be submitted 90 days after the import process started. You must pay a charge of 500 INR.
The registering authority will inspect the importer's facilities after receiving a fully completed application form, and if everything is in order, will register the applicant and issue them with an LMPC certificate. Normally, this takes up to 20 days.
Within seven days of receiving the application, it will be returned to the applicant if it is unfinished.
By paying a charge of INR 100 to the registering body, the importer may modify the certificate.
Why Importers need LMPC Certificate?
If you don't have an LMPC certificate or don't follow the declaration guidelines, customs may hold your imported products. A customs seizure might cause delays, costs, and other problems, so be careful to register as an importer before your products arrive in India.
Latest Amendments under the Legal Metrology Package Commodity Rules, 2011
The Legal Metrology Package Commodity Rules, 2011, were amended by the government on November 2, 2021, and that took to effect on April 1, 2022, prospectively. The Government has
added provisions to the Law to promote transparency for the product customer under the aforementioned revisions. The industry has now changed the labelling and packaging of its products as a result of these revisions. Make an appointment with our specialists to receive labelling advice.
Rule Violations and Penalties
A fine shall be assessed for any infraction of the Legal Metrology (Packaged Commodity) Rules.
The penalty for breaking any of rules 27 to 31 is INR 4,000.
The fine is INR 2,000 for violating any additional restrictions for which neither the Act nor the Rules specify a penalty.
A late fee will be assessed if your application for an LMPC certificate is submitted more than 90 days after the importation process began (INR 5,000 in Delhi)
If it is not a first offense, there may be additional punishment in addition to the penalty. Typically, the maker is responsible. However, if the terms "made by" or "packed by" are absent from the name and location of the company indicated on the label, it is assumed that the manufacturer owns the information, and culpability will be decided as such. Importers need to be aware of this because any infractions may result in them being held accountable.