News: Government has filed its response against a PIL in Delhi High Court seeking directions to the Centre to ensure country of origin tag on products being sold on E-commerce websites.
|Under consumer Protection act, 2019, every e-commerce entity is required to provide information necessary for enabling the consumer to make an informed decision at the pre-purchase stage like return, refund, exchange, warranty and guarantee etc. including country of origin.|
In an affidavit, centre has responded to PIL that all e-commerce entities, including Amazon, Flipkart, and Snapdeal, have to ensure the mandatory declaration of country of origin of imported products sold on their site.
laws relating to the issue were enacted under the Legal Metrology Act, 2009 and the Legal Metrology (Packaged Commodities) Rules, 2011.
Whenever violations are observed, action is taken by the legal metrology officials of the States/ UTs governments in accordance with the law.
Issues in compliance
|The Legal Metrology Act, 2009 and Legal Metrology (Packaged Commodities) Rules, 2011
Under the Legal Metrology (Packaged Commodities) Rules, 2011, to ensure consumer interest, certain mandatory declarations are required to be made on all pre-packaged commodities, such as:
Under section 36(1) of the Legal Metrology Act, 2009, Penalty provisions are provided for the violation in respect of the mandatory declarations on the label.
State Governments are required to take action for violations of the Rules
Snapdeal, an e-commerce platform, put forward the following issues in compliance to ‘Country of Origin’ tag:
- It functioned as a ‘marketplace-based’ e-commerce model in which it only acted as an ‘intermediary’ with no control over inventory.
- It only provided its information technology platform to connect third-party sellers with their potential consumers. Whereas other form of e-commerce model was ‘Inventory-based,’ where an organisation has control over inventory too.
- Due to unavailability of law backing, filling the available ‘country of origin’ field was not made mandatory for sellers. Thus, some seller could have chosen to leave the field blank.
- There are many cases, where finished goods are sourced from different countries and packed together or assembled in a third country, prior to their shipment into India.
- In the above case, it could not be simply presumed that the rules intended that the last country of export alone be declared as the ‘country of origin,’ unless the law was amended or clarified to expressly state so.