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Meanwhile, the e-commerce platform Snapdeal has submitted that the Legal Metrology Act does not contemplate the regulation of e-commerce entities.
The Central Government has stated before the Delhi High Court that under Rule 6(10) of the Legal Metrology (Packaged Commodities) Rules, 2011, all E-Commerce entities are under an obligation to ensure that the country of origin of imported products is displayed on its platform. (Amit Shukla vs UOI & Ors)
The statement forms part of the affidavit submitted by the Central Government in a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) to ensure that the manufacturing country's name is displayed on products being sold on e-commerce websites.
In response to the petition, the Central Government has said,
Praying for the dismissal of the PIL, the Central Government informed the Court that all the necessary actions have been taken and necessary advisory/direction to all e-commerce entities have already been issued to ensure the compliance of the provisions of the Legal Metrology Act & its Rules.
Whenever violations are observed, action is taken by the Legal Metrology officials of the State Governments and Union Territories in accordance with the Law, it is added.
Central Government has informed that the Controllers of Legal Metrology of all States/ UTs have been requested to ensure implementation of the provisions of Act & Rules in the interest of consumers.
The affidavit is filed through Standing Counsel Ajay Digpaul.
E-commerce not covered under the Legal Metrology Act: Snapdeal
Meanwhile, e-commerce platform Snapdeal has submitted before the High Court that the Legal Metrology Act, 2009 (LM Act) does not contemplate the regulation of e-commerce entities or the regulation of any listings on e-commerce platforms.
In its affidavit, Snapdeal has asserted that to say that all e-commerce platforms are liable to make certain disclosures under the LM Act is "highly questionable".
When the Act does not regulate product information per se or the e-commerce platforms, it is unclear how the Central Government could introduce Rules in the Packaged Commodities Rules, particularly Rule 6(10), to bring e-commerce entities within the ambit of legal metrology laws.
In any event, the Packaged Commodities Rules cannot be read in such a manner as would effectively compel an ‘intermediary’ under the Information Technology Act to demand disclosure of data by users of its marketplace, it is stated.
Snapdeal has informed that without prejudice to its rights under the law, it has anyway ensured that a data field pertaining to “country of origin/ manufacture/ assembly” is specifically available on its system, which may be filled in by a seller at the time of listing.
A seller of products can, therefore, at his own risk and option, choose to leave the field pertaining to ‘country of origin/manufacture/assembly’ blank, it is stated.
Snapdeal has also responded to the Petitioner's assertion that due to the “aggression of the neighbour (Republic of China)” many citizens would not want to buy any Chinese products.
Claiming that the PIL is motivated and devoid of any merit, Snapdeal has argued that increasing the compliance burden on businesses offering products on e-commerce platforms is likely to prove detrimental to the broader public interest.
Snapdeal has filed the affidavit through Keystone Partners.