The government issued notices to ecommerce giants Amazon and Flipkart for failing to abide by Centre's rule to display 'country of origin' on products. The notices coincide with the online giants' launch of the month-long festive season sales. The government has asked them to explain in 15 days why action should not be taken against them for not displaying country of origin on the products on offer.
The Department of Consumer Affairs, Ministry of Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution said that this is in clear violation of its rules and is punishable with a fine of up to Rs 25,000 for the first offence. For repeated violations, the penalty is up to Rs 50,000 or imprisonment. The department stated in the notice that some e-tailers are yet to display the country of origin details.
"It has been brought into notice that some of the e-commerce entities are not displaying the mandatory declaration on digital platforms required under the Legal Metrology (Packaged Commodities) Rules, 2011," said one of the similarly worded notices.
According to the notices sent to Flipkart India Pvt Ltd and Amazon Development Centre India Pvt Ltd, they are e-commerce entities and therefore, have to ensure that all mandatory declarations should be displayed on the digital and electronic network used for ecommerce transactions.
Uniform Resource Locators (URL) for products listed on the websites were also included in the notices. The notice invoked multiple rules and said that every individual who manufactures or pre-packs or imports any pre-packaged commodity for sale is required to be registered with the Director or Controller of Legal Metrology. "Therefore, it is directed to submit a copy of the registration certificate issued under Rule 27 of the Legal Metrology (Packaged Commodities) Rules 2011," it said.
In July this year, the government asked all ecommerce platforms to display country of origin by September 30. Confederation of All India Traders (CAIT) Secretary General Praveen Khandelwal asked the government to immediately investigate the festive sales of both Flipkart and Amazon for non-compliance of the law.