Weights and Measures is a comprehensive legal term for uniform standards ascribed to the quantity, capacity, volume, or dimensions of anything. The regulation of weights and measures is necessary for science, industry, and commerce. Chapter XIII of the Indian Penal Code from sections 264-267 deals with offences of weights and measures. These offences are committed when one person deceives another person to believe that a particular weight or a measure is genuine and authentic, when it is not. Even possessing an instrument which portrays false weights or measures is enough to invoke the provisions of Chapter XIII. India has a Standard Weights and Measures Act, 1956 which regulates them based on a metric system and has fixed the standard of weight, length and capacity as a kilogram, a metre and a litre respectively. In England, the Weights and Measures Act, 1878 regulates such offences. There are four major offences relating to weights and measures.
Section 264: Fraudulent use of false instrument for weighing
The main ingredients of this section are: the accused used an instrument for weighing, the instrument must have been false to the knowledge of the accused and the accused has used this intentionally. This section punishes anyone who uses any instrument fraudulently to intentionally deceive another. This offence is a non- cognizable, bailable but non-compoundable triable by any Magistrate.
Section 265: Fraudulent use of false weight or measure
The main ingredients of this section are: the accused used such weights or measures which was a false weight and did so fraudulently. This an extension of section 264, the only difference between them being that the prior deals with fraudulent use of a false instrument of weighing and the later with fraudulent use of a false weight or measure. The punishment can extend to one year, or fine or both.
Section 266: Being in possession of false weight or measure
The main ingredients of this section are: The weights and measurements are false, they are in the possession of the accused, the accused knows they are false and has stored them with the intention to use it fraudulently. In short, this section punishes a person who stores a false instrument of weight and measure and intends to cheat another. In the case of Bansindhar v. State of Rajasthan the applicant, a licensed opium dealer, was prosecuted under this section for keeping two sets of wrights in his ship, onset of weights was less in weight than the standard weight and he cheated people by using the instrument.
Section 267: Making or selling false weight or measure
The main ingredients of this section are: The accused made, sold or disposed of an instrument for weighing, this instrument, weights and measure was false and the accused knew they were false, and he still sold them as true or genuine instruments. This section displays that it is not just on the user of such false weights and measures but also the manufactures and sellers of such instruments, who will be punished under this section. Negligence in such matters will not be taken lightly.
Frequently Asked Questions
Which branch creates the standard weights and measures in India?
The CSIR- National Physical Laboratory of India, situated in New Delhi, is the measurement standards laboratory of India. It maintains standards of SI units in India and calibrates the national standards of weights and measures
What civil law protects a person from such an offence?
The Consumer Protection Act, 1986 provides for a civil remedy in the form of compensation.
What is the work of the legal metrology department?
The Department of Legal Metrology is a regulatory department. It is responsible for maintaining uniformity and accuracy in all weights and measures, weighing and measuring Instruments used by traders in all hats, markets and trading centres in the State.
“The views of the authors are personal“
The Indian Penal Code, K.D. Gaur, fourth Edition, Universal Law Publishing Co. p,195-210Cecil Turner.J. (2013), Kenny’s Outlines of Criminal Law, Cambridge: Cambridge University PressTextbook of Criminal Law, Glanville Williams, fourth Edition, Sweet & Maxwell South Asian Edition Criminal Law, PSA Pillai’s, 11th Edition KI Vibhute, Lexis NexisBansindhar v. State of Rajasthan, AIR 1959 Raj 91