The Delhi High Court on Wednesday issued notice to the central government in a plea seeking the display of products’ country of origin, seller details, maximum retail price of commodities, and the name of manufacturers, on social commerce platforms Meesho, Shop101, and GlowRoad.
A Division Bench of Chief Justice D.N. Patel, and Justice Jyoti Singh issued the notice to Ministry of Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution, and the parent companies of the three social commerce companies, and has asked them to respond by March 12.
The petition, filed in January by one Ajay Kumar Singh, alleged that these social commerce websites were knowingly violating rules which require them to disclose seller information along with country of origin, “only with motive to promote illegal sale and make huge money out of it”. It argued that not disclosing this information robs consumers of their rights.
The Consumer Protection (E-Commerce) Rules, 2020, notified by the Consumer Affairs Ministry in July 2020 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.
Apart from that, the petitioner also claimed to have bought items from GlowRoad, and said that there were no seller details even on the invoice. He added that since seller details aren’t mentioned on these platforms, GST details of these sellers are also not available, thus “aiding and abetting the sellers to evade payment of GST”.
FIR filed against Meesho and its directors over alleged sale of fake products
An FIR has been filed against the directors of social commerce platform Meesho in Uttar Pradesh’s Lucknow for allegedly selling counterfeit goods on its platform. The complainant, in the FIR, said that they had ordered a Rolex branded watch, and a Gucci branded t-shirt, which turned out to be fake.
“We come from middle class families, and it feels good that we could afford good clothes. But then when these things turn out to be fake, it causes you a lot of distress. I got the Rolex watch for ₹600 or ₹700, but then when I asked at the Rolex store, they told me their watches start from ₹3 lakh,” the complainant had earlier told MediaNama.
Meesho, in a statement at the time said that it was co-operating with the agencies for the investigation, and said that it had strict policies against the selling of counterfeit products on its platform.
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