Measurements are so much a part of our everyday lives that they are sometimes taken for granted and maybe not even considered by us. For instance, we track the speed at which we drive to ensure that we ride safely and thus minimize road accidents. To ensure that we stay safe, we undergo medical tests. We use time to make appointments on time, and satellite positioning systems to identify our location. We consume electricity, gas and water that are charged according to measurements, we purchase meat, fish, vegetables and fruit by weight, we fill our vehicles with fuel by volume, we have our cars tested to monitor the levels of exhaust emissions, and so forth.
Quite frequently, minor errors over a large number of measurements balance out in either direction. But biased mistakes may generate significant financial discrimination - for instance, incorrect oil measurements at any of the many transaction points from the oil well to the final customer can have severe economic implications.
Incorrect radiation doses in cancer care may have a critical impact on our health as a further illustration of the significance of calculation.
In all these situations, as well as where there is a need to protect both the buyer and the seller in a commercial transaction or when measurements are used to apply a penalty, regulation on measurements and measuring instruments is needed. By including metrology in their laws, virtually all countries have such security, hence the word "legal metrology."
Implementation of Legal Metrology Act
The Legal Metrology Act establishes and enforces weights and measurement standards and regulations or any aspects that are incidental to the same. Although there are different rules mentioned in the Act, one of the main parts of the Act relates to packaged commodities. For the maintenance of fair-trade practices and the protection of consumer rights, the Act sets out rules for the packaging of goods. It also outlines the standards for weight and measurement of packaged goods. What declaration should be made on the packaging and how, it is also mentioned in the act. The Act falls within the jurisdiction of the Department of Legal Metrology, which is under the responsibility of the Department of Consumer Affairs.
In view of the rapid development of science & technology and the globalization of economies, weighing and measuring techniques have been greatly improved and the range of weights & measures has been expanded. The Legal Metrology Act, 2009 was implemented on 1-4-2011 with a view to defining the Weights & Measures standards, controlling trade in Weights & Measures and other items that are marketed or distributed by weight, measure or number and for matters connected with or incidental to it.
The Standard of Weights and Measures Act, 1976 and the Standards of Weights and Measures (Enforcement) Act, 1985 were repealed and replaced by the Legal Metrology Act, 2009 (Act 1 of 2010). The date of 01.04.2011 from which the provisions of the Act will come into force has been designated by the central government.
Under the Legal Metrology Act, 2009 a Legal Metrology Certificate from the Metrology Department of Consumer Affairs is required for the selling or distribution of all packaged goods in India, such as export goods, food items, and consumer goods.
Legal Metrology Department
The Department of Consumer Affairs include Legal Metrology department which was founded in 2009 and deals with the monitoring and regulation of the production, import and business of weighing and measuring instruments and devices. Under Legal Metrology, registration of a company as a manufacturer, importer or packer of weighing and measuring instruments and devices is mandatory. A standardized process for the registration of the business in question under Legal Metrology has been established by the government authorities.
Manufacturer, dealer, repairer or importer, anyone can apply for the license to the legal metrology department following the prescribed procedure. The procedure for procuring license for manufacturer, dealer and repairer and requisite documents are detailed below.