Legal Update on Legal Metrology (Packaged Commodities) Amendment Rules, 2021
The Government of India, through the Ministry of Consumer Affairs and Food and Public Distribution, has amended the Legal Metrology (Packaged Commodities) Rules, 2011(“LM Rules”) vide notification dated 02.11.2021, which was publicly announced on 08.11.2021 by virtue of the Legal Metrology (Packaged Commodities) Amendment Rules, 2021(“Amendment”). The salient features of this Amendment are as follows:
1. The Amendment will be applicable from April 1, 2022.
2. Rule 4(2) has been added to bring packages sold as bundles or together as part of a promotional offer to also comply with the requirements of Rule 6. Rule 6 pertains to various declarations (such as MRP, country of import, name of importers etc.) to be made on the label.
3. The Amendment has omitted Rule 5 of the Legal Metrology (Packaged Commodities), Rules 2011, which read with Schedule II of the Rules prescribed the standard pack sizes of various types of commodities. This has been done to ease the compliance requirements. The Ministry has also scrapped Schedule II of the Rules, under which 19 types of commodities were to be packed in quantities by number or measure or weight in a specified manner. The requirement of standardised packaging has been removed.
4. Under Rule 6(1)(d), the words ‘or pre-packed or imported’ have been omitted. Therefore, now only ‘date of manufacture’ can be mentioned on all packages.
5. Rule 6(1)(e) has been amended to change how MRP is printed on the packaged commodities. MRP has to be currently printed in “maximum or max retail price Rs xx.xx” format. If a company mentioned only in “Rs xx” format or “Rs xx.x”, it was considered a violation. Under the new amendment, companies are required to give MRP in Indian rupees using the Indian Rupee symbol (₹), and they are now free from any set format.
6. Further, Amendment to Rule 6(11) now requires companies that are selling packaged commodities with a quantity of more than one kilogram are required to print ‘unit sale price’ per kg along with its maximum retail price (MRP). Therefore, a packaged commodity of, e.g. 2.5 kg should mention a unit sale price per kg along with its total MRP, while a packaged commodity of less than one kg quantity should mention ‘unit sale price’ per gram along with MRP. A similar format has to be followed by companies selling products which can be measured by length or volume.
7. Rule 13(5)ii has been amended, stating that quantity should either be in ‘number’ or ‘unit’, which should be mentioned on the package. Earlier, only ‘U’ or ‘N’ was allowed to be used. However, now the quantities can be expressed in terms of the number or unit or piece or pair or set or other words representing the quantity in the package.
The table below explains the law applicable till March 31, 2022, and the law which would be applicable from April 1, 2022
|1||No rule existed||4(2): When one or more packages intended for retail sale are grouped together for being sold as a retail package on promotional offer, every package of the group shall comply with provisions of Rule 6.||If more than one package (including promotional package) is sold together then all individual packages of the group would have to comply with Rule 6. Rule 6 deals with the declarations to be made on the label as explained in point 2 above.|
|2||Rule 5: Specific commodities to be packed and sold in recommended standard packages.— [(1)] The commodities specified in the Second Schedule shall be packed for sale, distribution or delivery in such standard quantities as are specified in that Schedule||Omitted||The requirement of commodities mentioned in Schedule II to be packed and sold in standard packaging has been removed.|
|3||Rule 6: Declarations to be made on every package.—(1) Every package shall bear thereon or on label securely affixed thereto, a definite, plain and conspicuous declaration made in accordance with the provisions of this chapter as, to—(d) The month and year in which the commodity is manufactured or pre-packed or imported shall be mentioned in the package.||(i) in clause (d), the words, ―or pre-packed or imported are now omitted||For imported products only ‘date of manufacture’ can be mentioned on the labels.|
|4||Rule 6(1)(e): The retail sale price of the package [shall clearly indicate that it is the maximum retail price inclusive of all taxes and the price in rupees and paise be rounded off to the nearest rupee or 50 paise; Illustrations.—For declaration of retail sale price:(a) Maximum or Max. retail price Rs or Rs. xx.xx (inclusive of all taxes), or(b) Maximum or Max. retail price Rs or Rs. xx.xx (inclusive of all taxes), or(c) MRP Rs or Rs. xx.xx (inclusive of all taxes), or(d) MRP Rs or Rs. xx.xx (inclusive of all taxes).]||Rule 6(1)(e): in clause (e), for the words commencing with ―and the price in rupees and paisa, and ending with ―(d) MRP Rs. ₹ xx.xx(inclusive of all taxes), the words ―in Indian currency shall be substituted;||As explained above, the requirement to follow the format as prescribed under the illustrations has been removed. The illustrations have been deleted. Companies are now free to use their own format and use to Indian currency symbol ₹ has been made compulsory. The provisions of declarations of MRP has been simplified by removing illustration and providing for making the mandatory declaration of MRP in Indian currency inclusive of all taxes. This has allowed the manufacturer/packer/importer to declare the MRP on the pre-packed commodities in a simplified manner.|
|5||No Rule existed||Rule 6 (11): After sub-rule (10), the following sub-rule shall be inserted, namely:–– ―(11) The unit sale price shall be declared as–(i) ―Rs.__ per g for pre-packaged commodities with net quantity of commodity less than one kilogram;(ii) ―Rs.__ per kg for pre-packaged commodities with net quantity of commodity more or equal to one kilogram;(iii) ―Rs.__ per cm for pre-packaged commodities with net length of the commodity less than one meter;(iv)―Rs.__ per meter for pre-packaged commodities with net length of the commodity more or equal to one meter;(v) ―Rs.__ per number;(vi)―Rs.__ per ml for pre-packaged commodities with net volume of the commodity less than one litre;(vii) ―Rs.__ per litre for pre-packaged commodities with net volume of the commodity more or equal to one litre.||Under this new Rule, Companies selling products have to mention ‘per unit price’ separately. E.g. If Company A is selling 2.5 kg of rice for Rs. 100 then on the label it also needs to mention that ‘Per Unit Price’ is ₹ 40 per kg. A similar format has to be followed by companies selling products which can be measured in length, volume etc.|
|6||Rule13(5): Symbol of units.—(i) No system of units other than the International System of Units shall be used in furnishing the net quantity of the package;(ii) For items sold by number the symbol should be N or U.||Rule 13(5): for items sold by number, the number or unit or piece or pair or set or such other word which represents the quantity in the package shall be mentioned.||Rules for declaring the commodities sold in pre-packed commodities in numbers have been eased out for reducing the compliance burden for manufacturer /importer/packer. Earlier such declarations could be denoted as ‘N’ or ‘U’ only. Now the quantities can be expressed in terms of the number or unit or piece or pair or set or such other word which represents the quantity in the package. This will remove the ambiguity of the declaration of quantity sold by number in pre-packed commodities.|
The Rules have been notified to benefit both the retailers as well as consumers. Companies/ retailers have been given a levy in writing the MRP and the number of units and pieces. Further, for the consumer’s benefit, it has been mandatory to mention ‘date of manufacture’ as in the opinion of the Ministry, the consumer is not concerned with the date of import or packaging.