Two major e-commerce firms may end up paying Rs 25,000 as a fine if they are found violating the packaging norms for not mentioning the country of origin on products for sale displayed on their platforms. The consumer affairs ministry had sent show-cause notices to these entities last month and their responses are now being examined.
Sources said the details of the country of origin of the products were not displayed on their platforms, which had prompted the ministry to send a show-cause notice.
The amended Legal Metrology (Packaged Commodities) Rules specify that all e-commerce companies need to mention the country of origin and other mandatory information on the packaged commodities sold by them and they also need to display these details on their platforms.
According to the Legal Metrology Act, a company is liable for punishment or fine which may extend to Rs 25,000 for the first offense. In the case of a second offense, the fine may extend up to Rs 50,000 and for a subsequent offense, it will not less than Rs 50,000 and not more than Rs 1 lakh or up to one-year imprisonment or both.
Sources said if the companies are found violating the norms, they can be penalized for such first offense. “The actions will be as per the law. First, the offense has to be established. It’s too early to comment on this,” said an official, who did not wish to be named.
Recently, the ministry published a draft to amend the Act to do away with the provision of imprisonment as per the government’s broader aim to “decriminalize” such offenses.
In September 2016, one telecom major and another popular digital payment platform had used the photograph of Prime Minister Narendra Modi without seeking permission. They were served notice under the Emblems and Names (Prevention of Improper Use) Act of 1950. The companies were liable to pay only Rs 500 for the first offense.
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