[October 14, 2017]
IN THE PRESS
The Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS) Act, 2015 has come into effect from October 12, 2017 with a provision for establishment of national standards body for the harmonious development of the activity of standardization, conformity assessment and quality assurances of goods, services, articles, processes and systems connected thereto and incidental to it. The BIS Act applies to the whole of India. It replaces the 1986 Act. The Bill includes goods, services and the system.
During the British rule in India, the Institution of Engineers (India) prepared the first draft of the Constitution of an Institution which could take up the task of formulation of National Standards. This led to the Department of Industries and Supplies issuing a memorandum on 03 September 1946, formally announcing the setting of an organization called the “Indian Standards Institution” which came into being on the 06 January 1947. While the product certification was being operated under the Indian Standards Institution (Certification Marks) Act, 1952, the formulation of standards and other related work were not governed by any legislation. A Bill with this objective was therefore introduced in the Parliament of 26 November 1986. Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS) thus came into existence, through an Act of the Parliament dated 26 November 1986, on 1 April 1987, with a broadened scope and more powers taking over the staff, assets, liabilities and functions of erstwhile ISI. The Bureau was a Body Corporate consisting of 25 members representing both Central and State governments, Members of Parliament, industry, scientific and research institutions, consumer organizations and professional bodies; with Union Minister of Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution as its President and with Minister of State for Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution as its Vice-President.
Bureau of Indian Standards & the Indian Standards (Section 3):
The Act establishes a Bureau for the purpose of standardization, marking and certification of articles and processes to be known as Bureau of Indian Standards. Earlier the body was notified under the BIS Act, 1986. The bureau will be a body corporate. The Standards established by the Bureau will be called as Indian Standards. The bureau will be licensing authority for standards. The testing laboratory for quality standards would be maintained by Bureau.
Central Government to direct compulsory use of Standard Mark (Section 16):
As per the new BIS law, the government can bring under compulsory certification regime any goods and service which it considers necessary in the public interest or for the protection of human, animal or plant health, safety of the environment, or prevention of unfair trade practices or national security. Enabling provisions have also been made for making hallmarking of the precious metal articles mandatory.
Offences by companies (Section 30):
When a company commits an offence under the Bill, the persons responsible for or in charge of the company at that time (director, manager, officer of the company or authorized representative of the company) will be presumed to be guilty irrespective of whether the offence was committed without their knowledge, consent or connivance.
Appeals (Section 34)
An appeal against an order regarding the granting of a license or certificate of conformity, or compounding of offences, may be made to the Director-General of the Bureau. A further appeal against the order of the Director-General may then be made to the central government.
Jurisdiction of Courts (Section 32):
MM or Judicial Magistrate of First Class has been empowered under the Act to try offences punishable under the Act. The cognisance of the offence can be done even on the complaint of the consumer or association.