The Delhi High Court, on Wednesday, directed the Centre 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.
The Delhi HC was hearing a Public Interest Litigation (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 ecommerce sites.
The PIL has sought implementation of the Legal Metrology Act 2009, whose rules mandate that ‘country of origin’ has to be displayed on products being sold online.
Shukla claimed in his affidavit that ecommerce entities are flouting the Legal Metrology (Packaged Commodity) Rules, 2011 and Consumer Protection (E-commerce) Rules, 2020 and has sought that prosecution is initiated against such companies.
Meanwhile, counsels for Flipkart, Amazon, Snapdeal and Decathlon claimed that they are complying with the rules and displaying the ‘country of origin’ for all products on their platforms.
The central government was told by the Delhi HC to verify whether the claims being made by ecommerce companies are genuine, and file a fresh affidavit according to the same.
During the hearing, the counsel for Decathlon contended that sometimes, the same product is manufactured in one country and assembled in another, which could be India, and this accounts for the different countries of origin that are sometimes listed on the packaging of a product.
Last month, traders’ body the Confederation of All India Traders (CAIT) demanded a seven-day ban on Amazon, as it was unhappy with the INR 25,000 fine levied on the Jeff Bezos-owned company by India’s Ministry of Consumer Affairs for not displaying the ‘country of origin’ for products on its India platform.
The Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade (DPIIT) had set September 30 as the deadline for ecommerce firms to display the ‘country of origin’ for all products listed on their websites.
The ‘country of origin’ rule was also written into the Consumer Protection (Ecommerce) Rules, 2020, notified on July 23.