What Is The Legal Metrology Department?

4 min read

The legal metrology department refers to the government body responsible for standardization, regulation, and supervision of weights and measures used in trade and commerce. This department plays a vital role in protecting consumers from unfair trade practices.

When was the Legal Metrology Department Formed?

The legal metrology department in India was formed in 1987 with the enactment of the Standards of Weights and Measures Act. This act consolidated all previous laws related to weights and measures and established the department at both central and state levels. The department works to ensure standardization and verification of weighing and measuring devices used in trade and commerce.

How does the Legal Metrology Department Function?

The legal metrology department functions to regulate trade and commerce through inspection, verification and stamping of weights and measures. Some key functions of the department include:

  • Type approval of weights and measures – New models of weighing scales, measuring instruments, etc. require type approval from the department before they can be manufactured and sold.

  • Initial verification – All devices need to be verified by the department before they can be used for trade and commerce.

  • Re-verification – Devices need to be re-verified periodically, usually every 1-5 years, to ensure ongoing accuracy.

  • Inspection of premises – The department conducts regular inspections of shops and establishments to check if verified equipment is being used properly.

  • Stamping – All verified devices are stamped with the department’s stamp to signify they conform to standards.

  • Training and awareness – The department imparts training and awareness on standards to traders and consumers.

The legal metrology department aims to issue legal metrology certificate in India for the manufacturers and importers.

Why is the Legal Metrology Department Important?

The legal metrology department plays a crucial role in ensuring a fair and transparent trading environment for both consumers and traders. It aims to promote accuracy in measurements through standardization. Some key reasons for its importance include:

  • Protects consumers from unfair practices like under-weighing, overcharging etc. by enforcing accurate weights and measures.

  • Promotes a level playing field for traders by ensuring no one gains undue advantage through the use of non-standard or manipulated devices.

  • Maintains confidence in the system of weights and measures by establishing uniform standards nationwide.

  • Helps consumers make informed decisions through accurate declaration of quantities and prices.

Whose Responsibility is it to Comply with Standards?

It is the responsibility of both manufacturers as well as users/traders to comply with the standards and procedures set by the legal metrology department.

  • Manufacturers need to obtain type approval for any new model and ensure devices comply with specifications.

  • Traders/users are responsible for getting all weighing/measuring devices verified periodically, using only stamped devices for trade, and allowing inspection of premises.

Where does the Legal Metrology Department Operate From?

The legal metrology department operates at both central and state levels across India the central level, it operates from the Ministry of Consumer Affairs, while at the state level, it comes under various state consumer affairs or legal metrology departments. The department has offices at most district/city levels for carrying out its functions locally.


In conclusion, the legal metrology department plays a vital role in safeguarding consumer interests and maintaining standards and fairness in trade. By regulating weights and measures used for commerce, it helps promote consumer confidence, trader equity and an atmosphere of transparency. While it is the responsibility of both manufacturers and traders to comply, the department works tirelessly to ensure accuracy is maintained through inspection, verification and generating awareness.


What devices does the legal metrology department regulate?

The department regulates all commercial weighing and measuring devices used in trade like weighing scales, length-measuring instruments, fuel dispensers, etc.

How often should devices be re-verified?

Most devices need to be re-verified every 1-3 years, though some like fuel pumps require a shorter interval of 6 months-1 year.

What action can be taken for non-compliance?

The department is authorized to levy fines and even seize non-verified or non-compliant devices based on the level of offense. Repeat offenders can also face criminal charges.

Which body governs standards at the central level?


The central standards body that guides weights and measures to the legal metrology department is the National Standards Body of India called the Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS).

You May Also Like

More From Author