Karnataka High Court
SAMSUNG INDIA ELECTRONICS PVT. LTD V. STATE OF KARNATAKA
CRIMINAL PETITION NO. 9771 OF 2017
Bench- HON’BLE MR. JUSTICE SACHIN SHANKAR MAGADUM
Decided On 31-05-2023
Facts of the case-
The petitioner in this case is a company registered under the Companies Act, 1956, with its registered office in New Delhi. The petitioner asserts itself as a prominent company in the consumer and household electronics and appliances sector in India. Its business activities involve the manufacture, import, marketing, and sale of consumer durable electronic products, home appliances, and cellular mobile phones through distributors and retailers.
The complainant, an Inspector from the Department of Legal Metrology, conducted an inspection at M/s. ABM Tele Mobiles India Pvt. Ltd., a distributor of the petitioner located in Bengaluru. During the inspection, the complainant examined a pre-packaged Samsung Galaxy Tab-4 manufactured by the petitioner and discovered that the maximum retail price printed on it as Rs.14,000/- did not conform to Rule 4(2) of the Legal Metrology (Numeration) Rules, 2011, in conjunction with Section 6(2) and (3) of the Legal Metrology Act, 2009. The complainant also alleged a violation of Section 11 read with Section 29 of the Metrology Act, 2009. Additionally, the complainant inspected a pre-packaged wholesale product containing 20 individual packages that lacked the qualifying symbol ‘N’ to indicate the quantity, which is required under Rule 13 sub-clause (5)(ii) of the Legal Metrology (Packaged Commodities) Rules, 2011. Consequently, the complainant argued that the mere mention of the numeral ’20’ without the qualifying unit ‘N’ constituted a violation of the Packaged Commodities Rules, 2011.
The petitioner responded to the show cause notice issued by the Department with a detailed reply. However, despite the petitioner’s response, the respondent issued a final notice, directing the petitioner to appear for compounding. Failure to comply with the notice would result in a complaint being lodged under the provisions of the Metrology Act, 2009. As a result, the petitioner filed the present complaint under Section 482 of the Criminal Procedure Code (Cr.P.C.), contending that the initiation of the prosecution was illegal and that even if the alleged violations mentioned in the complaint were accepted, they would not constitute an offense.The jurisdictional Magistrate, upon receiving the private complaint, registered the case and issued summons to the petitioner.
|Legal Metrology Act||Related to|
|Sec. 6||Base unit of numeration.|
The Court has rendered a decision to quash a criminal case filed against Samsung India under the provisions of the Legal Metrology Act, 2009. The Court elucidated that Rule 4(2) of the Numeration Rules does not apply to price/MRP, thereby concluding that no offense has been committed under Section 11 read with Section 29 of the Metrology Act, 2009.
Furthermore, the Court astutely observed that the regulation of price/MRP for packaged goods falls within the purview of the Packaged Commodities Rules, 2011, and not the Numeration Rules, 2011. The Court found that the Department/complainant has misinterpreted the applicable law concerning price/MRP and has erroneously issued a notice for compounding the alleged offense.
Subsequently, the Court referred to Rule 13(5)(i) and 13(5)(ii) and noted that these provisions exclusively pertain to retail packages and are not applicable to wholesale packages. On the other hand, Rule 24 governs wholesale packages.
The Court expounded, upon scrutinizing Rule 24(c), that the second offense alleged in the complaint has been erroneously attributed. The said provisions are pertinent solely to retail packages, not wholesale packages. Under Rule 24(c), the disclosure of the quantity should only include the numerical value, without adding a prefix such as ‘N’ or ‘U,’ as stipulated in Rule 13(5)(ii) of the Packaged Commodities Rules, 2011.
Furthermore, the Court noted that the complaint lacks sustainability as it has been filed against all the Directors despite the company clearly nominating a person under Section 49 of the Metrology Act, 2009. Considering that no prima facie offense has been established in this matter, the Court has quashed the case.
Accordingly, based on the aforementioned considerations, the Court has rendered its judgment to quash the criminal case.
JUDGEMENT REVIEWED BY ABHAY SHUKLA
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