Upset over the minimum penalty of merely Rs 25,000 on Amazon India for not providing mandatory details of 'Country of Origin' of products displayed on its platform, the Confederation of All India Traders (CAIT) has demanded that a seven-day ban be imposed on it and other big e-commerce companies for violating the rules and policies.
CAIT said the fundamental of levying the fine is to make offenders realise they should not commit the same offence anymore. However, the paltry monetary penalty has no significance at all.
"Let there be an exemplary punishment," it said in a note on November 27.
CAIT National President BC Bhartia and Secretary General Praveen Khandelwal in a joint statement said levying such a small amount on a foreign e-commerce giant for violating Indian law is nothing but a mockery of India's judicial and administrative system. They said the punishment should be equal to the damage caused by the companies to the economy, and it should have reflected a clear message to the foreign e-commerce players disobeying the law of the land.
On November 26, the Centre imposed fines on Amazon for failing to comply with rules mandating e-commerce companies display the country of origin of products sold on their platforms.
Both Amazon and Flipkart were issued notices by the Consumer Affairs Ministry in October. The penalty was imposed as Amazon’s answer was found “unsatisfactory”, as per an order dated November 19, said the statement.
The fine imposed as per the Legal Metrology (Packaged Commodities) Rules is Rs 25,000 per director, for first offences. Flipkart has not been fined yet.
However, Bhartia and Khandelwal said given the magnitude of e-commerce business in India and Prime Minister Narendra Modi's call for "vocal for local" and "atmnirbhar bharat", the description of country of origin is now mandatory and for disobeying this law for the first time, the e-commerce portal should be banned for sevendays; for the second time, it should be banned for 15 days; and for the third time, the portal should be banned till the time it complies fully with the law.
The government is the custodian of laws framed by it and, therefore, it is its duty to maintain sanctity and strict implementation of the law both in letter and spirit, they added.