The  Legal  Metrology  Act  of  2009  (“2009  Act”),  which  inter  alia  deals  with regulation  of  trade  and  commerce  in  weights,  measures,  and  numbers, has  recently  undergone  significant  changes  courtesy  of  the  Jan  Vishwas (Amendment   of   Provisions)   Act   of   2023   (“Amendment   Act”).  The   said Amendment    Act,    which    came    into    force    on    01.10.2023,    introduces provisions   for   decriminalizing   certain   violations   and   revising   penalty norms  posited  in  Sections  25,  27,  28,  29,  31,  34,  and  35  of  the  2009  Act.  The following  tabulation  of  amendments  to  the  2009  Act,  introduced  by  the Amendment Act are of particular significance:-

The aforementioned amendments evidently indicate the substitution of imprisonment provisions  with  monetary  penalties,  keeping  in  line  with the   objectives   of   the   Amendment   Act   to   decriminalize   and   rationalize offences   under   several   acts   including   the   2009   Act.   Furthermore,   the Amendment  Act  also  expands  the  scope  of  Section  48  of  the  2009  Act  to include Section 41 (“Penalty for giving false information or false return”) as a compoundable offence.

The  Amendment  Act  aims  at  fostering  ease  of  doing  business  and  will,  in the long run, also minimize the burden on courts, that have been saddled with    criminal    cases    arising    out    of    minor    and    otherwise    rectifiable infractions. The flip side of these amendments is the fear of overmounting monetary  liabilities,  however,  decriminalization  of  minor  offences  under the  2009  Act  and  the  potential  significant  reduction  in  criminal  cases  will positively impact business entities and corporations, moving forward.

Author: Ms. Meghna Talwar, Partner.

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