The Delhi high court has sought response from the central government on a petition seeking display of names of manufacturers, country of origin and MRP of products sold by social commerce startups Meesho, Shop101 and GlowRoad.
A bench of Chief Justice D N Patel and Justice Jyoti Singh issued notices to the ministry of consumer affairs, food and public distribution as well as the three companies that operate the startups — Fashnear Technologies (Meesho), Sociofy Enterprise (GlowRoad) and O (1) India (Shop101) — and sought their stand on the plea by March 12, 2021.
The public interest litigation (PIL) was filed by Ghaziabad resident Ajay Kumar Singh, who claimed the lack of the above details on the packaging of products sold by social commerce sites causes harm to consumers and also raises the question of authenticity of products. The PIL states that these details are mandated to be included in the packaging for ecommerce deliveries under the Consumer Protection (Ecommerce) Rules, 2020 and Legal Metrology (Packaged Commodities) Rules, 2011.
Earlier, the court had directed the central government to verify and inform the court whether major ecommerce players such as Amazon, Flipkart and Snapdeal were displaying the ‘country of origin’ for products being listed on their websites.
Further, in November 2020, ecommerce major Amazon India was fined INR 25K for not displaying mandatory information, including the country of origin, of products sold on its platform. The consumer affairs ministry had issued notices to ecommerce majors Flipkart and Amazon in October 2020 for not displaying such information. Amazon was fined INR 25K per director for the first offence, a senior official of the ministry said, while Flipkart was not fined.
Besides the case at the Delhi HC, Meesho is embroiled in an alleged fake goods investigation in Uttar Pradesh’s Lucknow. As we reported last week, a first information report (FIR) has been filed with Lucknow’s Wazirganj police station on January 24, 2021, naming Meesho founders Vidit Aatrey and Sanjeev Barnwal. The complaint alleges that the platform sold counterfeit Rolex watches and GUCCI apparel. The FIR, which has been accessed by Inc42, names both founders as respondents and was filed under Section 406 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) which deals with criminal breach of trust.