Reforms in Legal Metrology

It is to be appreciated that process of reformation entails a lot of patience. It starts with consensus building to overcoming of many barriers including resistance to change. We are thankful to team of DOCA for initiating the process well and having delivered some meaningful and effective reforms in the recent past, that include: –

  • Amendment of Rule 29 of the Legal Metrology (General Rules) 2011. This Amendment brought about a welcome change by creating a provision for shifting the responsibility of compliance with the Legal Metrology Act, 2009, read along with all the applicable rules, from the nominated director(s) to the persons who are actually responsible for the activities of the establishments or Branches of the company. Provided such persons have the authority and responsibility for planning, directing and controlling the activities of the respective establishment or Branch or unit in any establishment.
  • Manufacturers may sell their Weights & Measures through out the country on the Dealership License issued by the Controller of legal Metrology in the state of manufacturing.

   Some main issues from the list of Legal Metrology Pain Points on which deliberation are   going on with DOCA are: –

  • Raised limit of Test Weights
  • Self-Certification of the machines at the time of sale and before use
  • Raising the periodicity of reverification to every 5 years
  • Rationalization of GATC Rules 2013

Most important issue that has recorded maximum concerns is that of Test Weights. It has now assumed dimensions of free will in absence of clear-cut guide lines. Varied interpretations of Rules at different levels of enforcement and non-uniformity in implementation at national level is root cause of the problem.

To throw some light on this issue some clarifications follow as under: –

How logical it sounds to buy a product to learn that for testing of the same there is a requirement of equipment costing double or triple the cost of the product. Normally the testing requirement crops up when the Regulatory agency wants to verify and be sure that the product conforms to prescribed performance parameters. For that all State (Enforcement) Rules say, “the user of the weight or measure shall pay the expenses incurred by the Legal Metrology Officer for visiting the premises including the cost of transporting and handling the working standard and other equipment subject to a minimum of rupees one hundred.”  This implies that testing equipment is not in the scope of user. However, it is immaterial who has to bear the cost of enforcing such regulation.  As long as costs are unreasonable and prohibitive, it is a strain beyond proportion both on the enforcer and the product owner. It is believed that stretched regulatory support and enforcement resources have a direct bearing on regulatory capacity. There is a dire need to adopt right interpretation of the Rules and apply it uniformly at national level for better results in terms of protection of consumer rights, business growth, effective enforcement and ethical execution.

Certification of weighing instruments is mandatory as per Section 24 of Legal Metrology Act 2009, after manufacturing and before sale and use. Thereafter recertification is done generally every year.

Legal Metrology (Enforcement) Rules of all the States stipulate requirement of 1/10th test weights of the machine capacity or 1 ton whichever is less for checking the accuracy of the machines. This is being implemented smoothly on ground level.

Jharkhand is the only state in India that has additional Rule 23, sub rule (6) in its State Enforcement Rules that has increased the limit of test weights to 1/3rd of the capacity of machine i.e. 33.3 Ton in case of 100 Ton Weighbridge. In terms of costs it works out to double the price of the machine

Legal Metrology (General) Rules 2011 contains practically unimplementable condition without any associated clarification, that further raises the limit of test weights to 50% of the capacity i.e. 50 Ton in case of 100 Ton Weighbridge. cost wise it works out to 3 times the price of the machine and makes it very hard to procure, handle, store and transport the weights. Stipulation in this regard is appended below: –

“Para 9(2) of part-II of the 7th schedule heading “A” of rule 13: – 

Para9: -Test procedure during verification and inspection

(2) Weights

(ii)Substitution of standard weights: While verifying instrument with maximum of 1 tonne and more, instead of standard weights, any other constant load may be used, provided that standard weights of at least 1 tonne or 50% of maximum, whichever is greater, is used.

The reason that issue of 50% of weights has not been strongly contested so far is because of ground realities. Realisation prevailed across the fraternity that the condition is impractical to implement and execute. Enforcers never pressed for it for obvious reasons, neither is there any significant report of violation/ rejection booked on this count. Testing would continue as per the uniform clause in all the states i.e. with 1/10th test weights of the machine capacity or 1 ton whichever is less. 

Since the stipulation that is unimplementable exists, it has every potential of being misused as a bargaining tool and become source of harassment for businesses. Instances are increasing where users are being insisted to provide test weights equivalent to 50% of the machine capacity or else face the rejection of the machine. 

 DOCA has again been requested to look in to the issue for resolution so that uniformity is ensured nationally,  in the Rule, its interpretation and implementation.

Vijay Bhat

Director General


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