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Delhi HC asks centre to verify if e-commerce platforms are displaying country of origin of products: Report

E-commerce

The Delhi High Court on Wednesday directed the central government to inform it whether e-commerce platforms like Amazon and Flipkart are displaying the country of origin next to product listings, PTI reported. The response came as the court was hearing a plea seeking e-commerce companies to display country of origin alongside products they sell on their platforms — as required under the Consumer Protection (E-Commerce) Rules, 2020, and also the Legal Metrology (Packaged Commodities) Rules, 2011.

During the hearing, Decathlon’s counsel reportedly said that one product can have multiple countries of origin, because some parts of it are manufactured in one country and assembled in another. As such, Flipkart, Amazon, Snapdeal, and Decathlon, all claimed that they were showing the country of origin of product listings, the report said.

In an earlier hearing in July, the government had told the Delhi High Court that e-commerce platforms had to mandatorily showcase country of origin of products. The government had also prayed that the Court issue an advisory or directive to e-commerce companies to provide an option to “refine” search results for “made in India” products. It also revealed that it had sent a direction to all e-commerce companies on July 3 asking them to display the country of origin as mandated in the legal metrology rules.

The government, last month, had fined Amazon India for not displaying the country of origin of product listings. Before that, in October, sent notices to both Amazon and Flipkart asking them to explain — within fifteen days — why action shouldn’t be taken against them for not displaying the country of origin of some product listings. Amazon was penalised because the Ministry reportedly didn’t find the company’s response to the notice satisfactory. Flipkart has not yet been fined.

Mandatory display of country of origin for e-commerce cos

The Consumer Protection (E-Commerce) Rules, 2020, notified by the Consumer Affairs Ministry in July direct e-commerce companies to display the country of origin alongside product listings. On top of that they will also have to reveal the parameters that go behind determining product listings on their platforms. While the requirement to display country of origin was already a necessity under the Legal Metrology (Packaged Commodities) Rules, 2011, the enforcement of these rules coincided with the ban of several Chinese-owned apps, followed by skirmishes between India and China at the border.

Following that, the government had also told the Delhi High Court that it is mandatory for e-commerce platforms such as Amazon, Flipkart, and Snapdeal to display the country of origin alongside imported products. This response had come in a counter-affidavit filed by the centre, following a plea seeking e-commerce to display country of origin alongside product listings.

India’s draft e-commerce policy also requires these platforms to show country of origin next to product listings.

Watch: Rahul Narayan, a Supreme Court Advocate, explains the feasibility of displaying country of origin of products available on e-commerce platforms: 

Also read: 

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