KOCHI: As the amended Legal Metrology (Packaged Commodities) Rules (PCR), which bans dual pricing of the same product, came into force on Monday, the Legal Metrology Department is all set to start enforcement activities. The amendment will be a big relief for consumers who were forced to pay different prices for the same product.
It was in June 2017 that the Ministry of Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution approved the amendment, which is part of the one price, one product policy aimed at protecting consumer rights.
Legal Metrology Department deputy controller Ram Mohan said the amendment will be a landmark step. Earlier, a 500 ml soft drink produced by a company was sold at different prices at malls, cinemas and airports.
“Even though the amended PCR was approved in 2017, manufacturers were given time to stop producing same goods with different price tags and bring uniformity in maximum retail price (MRP). From Monday onwards, no products should be sold with different price tags,” he said.Ram Mohan said that the department will strictly enforce the amendment. “Surely, we will conduct checks to keep a tab on dual pricing. Squads will be formed for conducting checks. The squads will focus on luxury hotels, malls and airports where dual pricing of packaged foods exist. Consumers who notice differences in MRP for the same product can alert us anytime,” he said.
However, there are concerns regarding enforcement of the policy after a Supreme Court verdict permitted hotels to charge above MRP for bottled mineral water.“We have sent a report to the Central government recommending it to file a review petition at the Supreme Court. A division bench of the Kerala High Court had given a favourable verdict to us when we had registered cases against hotels for charging above MRP. The order of the division bench has been sent to the Central government for filing a review petition,” an official said.Apart from the ban on dual pricing, the PCR amendments also introduced new reforms.
This includes mandatory declaration of goods displayed on electronic platforms, mandatory display of MRP on medical devices and compulsory declaration of packaged food products. Similarly, the declaration should be displayed in a bigger font so that consumers can read it easily.