Are e-commerce entities like Flipkart, Amazon and Snapdeal complying with the requirement of displaying 'country of origin' on products sold on their platforms? The Delhi High Court on Wednesday directed the Centre to find out about this and inform it.
A bench of Chief Justice D N Patel and Justice Prateek Jalan directed the central government to file a fresh affidavit after verifying the e-commerce entities' claims of complying with the relevant laws and rules and to also keep in mind the objections raised by the petitioner who has contended that there are still ambiguities in displaying country of origin on products sold by them.
The court was hearing a PIL by Amit Shukla, a lawyer, seeking directions to the Centre to ensure that the name of the manufacturing country is displayed on products being sold on e-commerce sites.
During the hearing, Shukla said there were major ambiguities with regard to products being sold on e-commerce sites including that there are several countries of origin on one product, country of origin is foreign but item is shown as made in India and country of origin being different from manufacturing country.
He also claimed, in his rejoinder affidavit, that even till date the e-commerce entities "are grossly flouting the Legal Metrology (Packaged Commodity) Rules, 2011 and Consumer Protection (E-commerce) Rules, 2020 and has sought that prosecution be initiated against those found flouting the rules.
The e-commerce entities like Flipkart, Amazon, Snapdeal and Decathlon have claimed that they are displaying country of origin on products sold on their platforms as required under the Legal Metrology Act and Rules. Therefore, the instant petition has become infructuous, they contended.
The counsel for Decathlon, during the hearing, said sometimes products are manufactured in one country and then assembled in another or in India and that accounts for the different countries of origin and manufacture.
Shukla, in his plea, has sought implementation of the Legal Metrology Act 2009 and the rules framed under it which mandate that country of origin has to be displayed on products being sold on e-commerce websites.
The petition has claimed that the mandate was not being enforced with respect to e-commerce entities. It has contended that enforcement of the mandate was important in the current scenario when citizens intend to comply with the central government's appeal to promote and purchase Indian goods and not from some neighbouring countries.