An Overview of the Legal Metrology Act, 2009

The Legal Metrology Act, 2009 (Act 1 of 2010) repeals and replaces the Standard of Weights and Measures Act, 1976 and the Standards of weights and Measures (Enforcement) Act, 1985. The central government has appointed the date 01.04.2011 from which the provisions of the Act will come into force.

However, a state can enforce the provisions of the Act and Rules made thereunder after framing its own Legal Metrology (Enforcement) Rules for the state and on notification of the date from which it will come into force.

Standard Weights, Measures and Numerals

  • Using, keeping for use, manufacturing or importing any non-standard weight, measure or numeral is prohibited. [Sections 8(3) and 8(4) read with section 25 and 27]
  • To be a standard weight or measure,
    1. It should use only standard units
    2. It should conform to the physical characteristics, configuration, construction details, materials, equipment, performance and tolerance as per provisions of the LM (General) Rules, 2011.
    3. It should be verified and also re-verified periodically as per schedule.
    [Section 7 and 8]
  • Non-standard units are not permitted in any document, quotation, invoice, packages and in advertisements.[Section 11 read with penal provision of section 29]

Re-verification Schedule: Rule 27(2) of the General Rules.

2 years

All weights, capacity measures, length measures, tapes, beam scales, counter machines

5 years Storage Tanks
1 year

Other weights and measures including tank lorry

Manufacture or Import of Weights and Measures

  • Every manufacturer, dealer and repairer of weights and measures will require license from the Controller of the State [Section 23]. Failure to obtain license will attract penalty. [Sections 45 and 46]
  • Importers of weights and Measures need registration with the Government of India.[Section 19] Non-registration is an punishable offense under Section 39. Import of non-standard weights or measures is prohibited. [Section 20 read with section 39]
  • Every manufacturer, dealer (includes importers) and repairer shall maintain registers in prescribed formats and produce before the authority when called for. [Section 17]. Failure to do so will attract penal provision of Section 31.
  • All weights or measures, except cast iron, brass, bullion or carat weight, beam scales, length measure (but not measuring tape) and capacity measures up to 20 litre capacity, will require approval of model before manufacturing or importing. [Section 22 read with section 32.]

Using Weights and Measures

Verification and Stamping

  • Un-verified weights or measures are are liable to be forfeited by the State. [S. 16(1)]
  • Weights and measures requires verification before use in any transaction or for protection as defined. [Section 24(1) read with Section 2(k).]
  • It is a punishable offence to sell, deliver or use any un-verified weight or measure. [Section 33] This section attach no qualification on "uses", that is it does not expressly exclude weights and measures used in industrial production and even use for domestic purposes.
  • Weights and measures used by factories for productions of arms and ammunition for the army, used for scientific research and exclusively for export do not require verification.

Read More ...

A paradox

Rule 14 of State Enforcement Rules does not provide for verification of weights and measures used for domestic purposes. Still, Section 33 leaves a scope for awarding penalty for using un-verified weight or measure for such purposes.

Does industries need verification?

The expression "industrial production" was not included in Section 24(1) of the Act of 2009. It was there in the SoWM Act of 1976 and SoWM (Enforcement) Act, 1985, now repealed. This has caused a confusion whether the weights and measures used by the industry still requires verification and stamping.

Now w&ms are used by an industry for different purposes - weighing of materials entering or leaving the factory. Such purposes comes under the term "transaction" and clearly covered by S. 24(1). Weighing is also used during different stages of production and the weighing readings are used for checking any misuse or theft at any stage. This comes under the scope of "protection". The term "protection has not only been retained, its scope has now been defined under S. 2(k).

Also, consider the provisions of S. 33 which makes use of any un-verified weight or measure a punishable offence. Importantly, this provision is not linked to S. 24(1) and there is no qualifying expression for the term "uses".

Provisions related to Declarations on Pre-packaged Commodities

  • Manufacturing, packing, selling or importing any pre-packaged commodity is prohibited unless it is in a standard quantity and carries all prescribed declarations. Section 18(1)
  • Any advertisement mentioning retail price of packaged commodity shall also contain the net quantity thereof. Section 18(2)
  • All pre-packed commodities must conform to the declaration given on the packages. Section 36(1)
  • If the net quantity in a pre-packaged commodity is short or excess beyond the prescribed MPE, the offense will be punishable under Section 36(2)

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Compounding of Offenses

Section 48

  • Some of the offenses may be compounded before or after the institution of a prosecution on payment of a prescribed sum.
  • The Director of Legal Metrology is competent to compound offenses committed under S. 25, 27 - 39 and Rules under S. 52(3)
  • The Controller of Legal Metrology of the State is competent to compound offenses committed under S. 225, 27 - 31, 33 - 37, 45 - 47 and Rules made under S. 53(3)
  • No offense can be compounded if the same or similar offense was committed earlier by the person within three years of date of first offense. which was compounded.

Offences that may be compounded by a Controller

Section Penal Section Offence *Amount (Rs.)
8(3) 25 Use of non-standard weight or measure or numeration 2500.00
8(4) 27 Manufacturing non-standard weight or measure 2000.00
10 28 Transaction, dealing etc in violation of prescribed unit 1000.00
11 29 Quoting in non-standard units 1000.00
12 30 Demanding or receiving excess or short of agreement 1000.00
17 31 Non-maintenance or production of of registers etc. 500.00
18(1) 36(1) Non-compliance of declaration etc in packaged commodities 2500.00
18(1) 36(2) Failure to maintain net content requirement in packaged commodities 15,000.00
23 45 Manufacturing of weight or measure without license 5000.00
23 46 Repair or selling of weight or measure without license 2500.00
23 45 Manufacturing of weight or measure without license 5000.00
23 46 Repair or sale of weight or measure without license 2000.00
24 33 Using un-verified weight or measure 5000.00
33 33 Sale of un-verified weight or measure 5000.00
34 34 Transaction by no-standard weight or measure 2500.00
35 35 Rendering service by non-standard weight or measure 2500.00
47 47 Tampering of license 5000.00
53(3) 53(3) Provision of any rule made under the Act 500.00
Items added vide LM (PC) Rules ist amendment of 2013
Rule 32(3)(1) Quoting in non-standard units in packages (S. 29) 2000/10,000
Rule 32(3)(2) Failure to conform to the declaration on packages (S. 36(1)) 5000/25,000
Rule 32(3)(3) Error in net quantity beyond MPE (S. 36(2)) 10,000/25,000
Rule 32(3)(4) Selling of products beyond MRP 2000/5,000

1. Amount will be per person charged for the offence
2. Amount as per Model State Enforcement Rules which may vary from state to state.
3. Applicable to retailers and wholesalers / Applicable to manufacturers and importers

Offenses by Companies

Section 49

  • A company may nominate one of its Directors, with his written consent, who will be responsible for the conduct of the company. Such nomination should be communicated to the Director and the Controllers of Legal Metrology of all states.
  • The nominated person and the company itself will be held responsible for violation of provisions of the Act.
  • When no person is nominated, the person who is in charge or responsible to the company will be held responsible.
  • Even if a person is nominated, any other person responsible to the company and due to whose consent or negligence led to the violation will also be held liable for any offense committed.
  • When a company is convicted, the Court may direct the company to publish its name and the offense committed by it in the newspapers at the cost of the company.

Nomination -Compulsory or optional?

The use of the term "may" in Section 49, makes the nomination optional but the Rule 29 of the LM (General) Rules, 2011 demands that 'Every company shall inform ...." the name and address of the Director who has been nominated.

Firstly, Section 49((1)(a)(ii) envisages a situation where no nomination has been made, secondly, failing to nominate a person has not been declared as an offence and finally, it is the established rule of law that when a provision of an Act is contradicted by a provision of a rule made thereunder, the Act always prevails.

Download: The Nomination Form


Section 50

  • Every decision or order of an officer of Legal Metrology will be appealable to the next higher authority within 60 days of passing the order or decision.
  • The Central or the State Government may call for records from its officer for examination and passing appropriate orders.

Model Format for Appeal

Rule Making Power

Section 52 (Central Government)

The Central Government may make Rules regarding

  • Physical characteristic, metrological requirements and test and verification procedures of all weights, measures and measuring instruments.
  • Period of re-verification.
  • Reference, Secondary and Working Standards.
  • Packaged commodities
  • Approval of Models
  • Fee payable on compounding of offenses

Section 53 (State/UT Governments)

The State/UT Governments may make Rules, by notification and after consultation with the Central Government, regarding

  • Terms and conditions for license, Registers and records to be maintained by licensee.
  • Fees payable for verification and re-verification.
  • Fees for compounding of offenses.

Provisions of I.P.C and Cr.P.C.

Provisions of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) and section 153 of the Criminal Procedure Code (Cr.P.C.) of 1973 shall not apply to any offense punishable by the Legal Metrology Act.

The provision of Section 153 of of the Cr.P.C.

Inspection of weights and measures.- (1) Any officer in charge of a police station may, without a warrant, enter any place within the limits of such station for the purpose of inspecting or searching for any weights or measures or instruments for weighing, used or kept therein, whenever he has reason to believe that there are in such place any weights, measures or instruments for weighing which are false.
(2) If he finds in such place any weights, measures or instruments for weighing which are false, he may seize the same, and shall forthwith give information of such seizure to a Magistrate having jurisdiction.

A repeal overdue

Section 51 of the Act overrides the provisions of Section 153 of the Cr.P.C. It is also a fact that an Officer-in-Charge of a Police Station is not technically equipped to identify a false weight or measure, this provision of the Cr.P.C. should have been repealed.