There have been three Weights and Measure Systems of significance in India before the metric system;
During pre-Akbar period, weights and measure system varied from region to region, commodity to commodity, and rural to urban areas. The weights were based on the weight of various seeds and lengths were based on the length of arms and width of fingers.
Akbar realized a need for a uniform system. He elected the barley corn. Unfortunately, this did not replace the existing system. Instead, it just added another system.
The British accepted barley corn as a unit 'Grain' for weighing gold. They minted coins using wheat berry as the standard. Eventually, they introduced their own system for weighing gold (Troy ounce), commodities (Pound/Cwt/Ton). The roads had Furlong and Mile markers. In 1939, Government of India passed the Standards of Weights Act, that came into effect in 1942. This allowed Tola/Seer/Maund system to coexist with Pound/Cwt/Ton system.
In 1941, the Punjab Weight and Measures act provided a sense of uniformity. In 1956, Government of India passed a Standards of Weights and Measures system to introduce metric system based on Punjab Act. Metric weight was made mandatory by October 1960, and the metric measures mandatory by April 1962.
Engaged in regulating use of correct weighing and measuring instruments in production, trade and commerce to ensure that exact weight, measure and number of any commodity is provided to any customer as paid for by him.
safeguards consumers’ interest by ensuring mandatory declarations on packaged commodities.
The Department carries out regular/surprise inspections in markets, fair price shops, kerosene oil depots, petrol pumps, gas agencies etc. to check whether measuring and weighing units bear valid verification stamp and deliver correct weight, measure or volume of commodities to consumers.
The Department undertakes verification of auto-rickshaws/taxi fare meters, tank lorries, and petrol dispensing units.
Packaged commodities are regularly inspected to see whether the mandatory are printed on the such packages and declaration printed on them conform to the contents of the package
Pre-Packed commodity means a commodity which, without the purchasers being present is packed in package of what ever nature, so that the quantity of the product containing therein has a pre determined value and such value can not be altered without package or its lid or cap, as the case may be, being opened or undergoing a perceptible modification and the expression " Package" wherever it occurs shall be construed as a package containing a pre-packed commodity.
Rules under the Act:
All the manufacturers of packaged products shall register under the Act.
All the weights and measures are to be indicated only in standard units
All the commodities sold in packaged form shall contain a clear declaration
He must ensure that all mandatory declaration are made on the package conspicuously and unambiguously.
He must not pay excess of Maximum Retail Price.
For redressal of his grievances he should approach the Weights & Measures Organization. Controller of Legal Metrology at the State level; Asst. Controller of Legal Metrology and Divisional level; and Inspector, Weights & Measures at circle level.
Provision of this Act to override provisions of any other law except the Standards Act 1976.
It prohibits the use of Weights and Measures other than Standards Weights and Measures i.e., earlier use of inch, feet, dozen etc., is totally prohibited and it is replaced by metric measurements (S.I. Systems).
No person shall make manufacture, repair or sale or offer, expose or possess for repair or sale, any weight or measure unless he holds valid license issued in this behalf by the Controller authorizing such person to do so.
Any weight or measure in possession, custody or control is intended to be used in any transaction or for industrial production or for protection has to be verified and stamped before putting into use.
Display of Certificate of Verification at prominent place of business.
Every packaged commodity which is kept for sale shall require mandatory declarations and other additional declarations which are provided in Standards of Weights and Measure (Packaged Commodities) Rules, 1977.
Contravention of Section 33 amounts to an offence punishable under this Section, which is compoundable and compounding amount up to Rs.5000/-
States the specifications of measuring instruments used in commercial transaction, industrial production and measurement involved in public health and human safety.
The Department of Consumer Affairs has already set in motion the process of adopting new specifications in these Rules in accordance with the recommendations made by International Organization of Legal Metrology to regulate newer types of weighing and measuring instruments.
Standard Weights for testing higher capacity weighing machines, discontinuous totalizing automatic weighing instruments Sphygmomanometer and CNG gas dispensers based on OIML recommendation.
The Legal Metrology Act 2009 has come into effect after its publication in the Official Gazette on the 14th January 2010.
It replaces The Standards of Weights and Measures Act, 1976 and the Standards of Weights and Measures (Enforcement) Act, 1985. The new Act will become operative after the Rules there under is also notified.
Appointment of Government approved Test Centers for verification of weights and measures.
companies to nominate a person who will be held responsible for breach of provisions of the Act
simplified definition of "Packaged Commodity”
More stringent punishment for violation of provisions are some of the new features of the Act.
The appellant herein was selling the films as a representative of Kodak without price being printed on the packages containing films.
The respondent filed a complaint before the District Consumer Disputes Redressal Forum, Delhi, for the issuance of appropriate directions to protect the interests of the consumers.
The District Forum found that the complaint filed was in the general interests of the consumers who were entitled to know the price of the product which was required to be conspicuously displayed and if that was not done, the interests of the consumers would be jeopardized.
The District Forum vide its order dated February 28, 1989 directed the appellant to display the sale price of the film on the package.
This was upheld by the State & National Consumer Redressal Forum. Directions were given for making separate specifications in Wholesale & Retail packages.
Appeal was made to the Supreme Court which was dismissed but without costs.
Every Weights & Measures used by the dealer is stamped by the Weights & Measures Department after due verification, with a special seal indicating the identification of Inspector and quarter in which it is verified.
Ensures a Standard system for weights & Measures & facilitate use of standard weighing and measuring instruments in trade and commerce activities
All the Legislations on Weights & Measures are aimed to ensure that consumers get the exact quantity of commodities, with mandatory declaration of relevant information on the package of goods.
Weights and Measures Departments/ Wings or Department of Legal Metrology in various States and Union Territories to regulate all such provisions of weights and measures.