New Delhi: On Friday, the Nagpur bench of Bombay High Court gave a major respite to over five lakh jewellers across the country by clamping down on BIS’s decision of mandatory hallmarking from June 1.
In case of any breach after June 1, the bench ordered the authorities not to take any coercive action against the jewellers under Section 29(2) of the Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS) Act.
According to the new regulations, jewellers had to hallmark gold jewellery before storing it in their stores or selling it to their customers from Jun 1, 2021. In case a jeweller is found selling jewellery without the certification, he/she could face punitive actions under Section 29(2) of the Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS) Act.
In response to the new rule, All India Gems and Jewellery Domestic Council filed a petition in the Bombay High Court, requesting to extend the last date for making hallmarking mandatory.
The rule, if implemented, is likely to put the sale of over six crore items of gold on hold, since these pieces are yet to be hallmarked. The petitioners claimed that the rule will also make gold shop owners and jewellers liable for criminal prosecution if they try to sell gold items without a hallmark.
The next hearing of the case is on June 14, meaning that jewellers can sell gold items without a hallmark until at least this date. The next hearing might provide a final deadline to all the jewellers across the country.
It is important to note that hallmarking centres are available in only 34% of cities and towns in India. “In proportion to such multitude of jewellers in India, the percentage of hallmarking centres available in India is about 34% only and there are at least 488 districts, which do not have any hallmarking centres,” the petition stated.