THE STANDARD OF WEIGHTS AND MEASURES ACT, 1976

 

The Act is another piece of consumer welfare legislation.  The Standard of weights and measures Act, 1976, aims at introducing standard in relation to weights and measures used in trade and commerce. The ultimate objective is to subserve the interests of the consumers.  The purpose of this Act is to:-

i)                    Replace the bewildering varieties of weights and measures in use in the country by standards based on the metric system

ii)                   Provide better protection to consumers by ensuring accuracy in weights and measures

Objectives:  The Act enlists the following objectives –

a)                  Establish standards of weights and measures

b)                  Regulate inter-State trade or commerce in weights & measures and other goods, which are sold or distributed by weights, measures and number.

Legal metrology: The branch of knowledge concerning weights and measures is known as metrology.  The law relating to weights and measures is known as legal metrology.  The scope of legal metrology extends to three broad fields of human activity, namely, commercial transactions, industrial measurements and measurements needed to ensure public health and human safety.

Enforcement of the Act: Though the act is a central legislation, its enforcement lay with the State Governments.  For enforcement, a new Act was enacted the Standards of Weights and Measures (Enforcement) Act, 1985.

STANDARD UNITS: Section 4 of the act stipulates that every unit of weight or measure shall be based on the units of the metric system.  Section 15 to 19 deals with the physical representation of standard units.

Manufacture/Sale/distribution: Only licence holder can manufacture weights and measures and shall have approved models.  Repairs etc. shall be recorded in a register and produce the records for inspection to the director.

 Penal Provisions:

a)                  A fine of Rs. 500/- to 1000/- and imprisonment upto seven years, if violation (use of non-standard units in non-metric system for weights and measures) of any provison of the Act is found.

b)                  Authorities also have the power to inspect, search, seize and forfeit the goods involved in the offence.

c)                  Non-registration

d)                  Not maintaining prescribed registers/records.

Packaged Commodities Rule –1977:

1)                  All the manufacturers of packaged products shall register under the Act.

2)                  All the weights and measures are to be indicated only in standard units

3)                  All the commodities sold in packaged form shall contain a clear declaration regarding the following in print or inscribed on the package.

a)                  Name & address of the manufacturer and also of the Packer (if the manufacturer is not the packer). 

b)                  The description of the commodity

c)                  The net quantity in terms of standard unit in the metric system

d)                  The unit sale price (only if the same is fixed by the manufacturer)

e)                  If required, printing of package shall be maximum Price Rs… L.T.extra.

f)                    The month and year of manufacture (not required for metallic products)

g)                  Package held in storage should also contain the details.

h)                  The manufacturer should maintain prescribed registers and make available for inspection

i)                    The size of the display panel should be as follows-

-                     In case of rectangular container-,40% of the area of the largest surface

-                     If cylindrical container, 20% of the total area

-                     For any other shape, 20% of the surface area.

                  It is mandatory that the weights and balances be checked and sealed once a year.  Every consumer must know how to identify false weights and measures.  As a proof of  having  been  inspected, there should   be three seals on the back of the weights; ;the number assigned to the sealing Inspector, the year in which the seal is affixed and the quarterly seal.