The Delhi High Court passed an order on Tuesday in the Amazon vs CCPA (Central Consumer Protection Authority) case, directing Amazon Sellers Private Limited to notify the buyers of all the 2265 pressure cookers, that their pressure cookers do not conform the Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS) standard. It further directed the company to deposit the sum of Rs 1 lakh as the penalty amount before the Registrar General of the Court within a period of one week.
The Court while passing the order said, “Prime facie, the Court notes that investigation is stated to have come to the conclusion that pressure cookers were not BIS certified. However, the petitioner does not appear to have been afforded any opportunity to rebut or meet those findings. The nature of obligations which an e-commerce platform must discharge under the 2020 Rules and whether they were in fact met in the facts of the present case would merit a more detailed examination. Additionally, the Court would have to consider the duties and obligations which an e-commerce entity must be held liable to perform in law before onboarding a seller.” “Consequently and till the next date of listing, the petitioner shall be liable to notify the consumers of the 2265 pressure cookers sold on its platform of the order of the CCPA. The Court also calls upon the petitioner to deposit a sum of Rs. 1 lakh with the Registrar General of the Court within a period of 1 week from today without prejudice to its rights and contentions in the writ petition,” the Court had further said in the order.
Central Consumer Protection Authority had submitted before the High Court that, Amazon had not placed any material on record that can establish that it was offering products conforming to the required standards. The CCPA pointed out that once the Quality Control Order (QCO) on pressure cookers came into force, the company should have ensured that the pressure cookers duly licensed and certified by BIS are being sold on its platform.
It was pointed out by CCPA, that Amazon cannot claim a right to onboard sellers without enquiring that their products are legally complying. The CCPA further pointed out that Amazon cannot claim the benefit of ‘Safe Harbour’, comprised in Section 79 of the Information Technology Act, 2000 unless they establish that they had discharged their obligations placed under the Consumer Protection (E-Commerce) Rules, 2020.
It was also pointed out by CCPA that among the identified pressure cookers that are in violation of QCO, one pressure cooker was of an Amazon brand itself, namely ‘AmazonBasics’. As per the Consumer Protection Act, 2019, it is stipulated that goods or products which do not comply with the required standard are liable to be held defective.
As per the Domestic Pressure Cooker (Quality Control) Order, 2020, which came into force on February 1, 2021, all pressure cookers are required to mandatorily conform to standard- IS 2347:2017 and compulsorily use the standard mark for the Domestic Pressure Cooker. Earlier on March 23, CCPA had passed similar order against Paytm mall and the company had complied with the CCPA orders. The Paytm Mall was also directed to notify all its 39 customers, who purchased pressure cookers from its platform. It was further asked to recall the pressure cookers, reimburse their prices to consumers, submit a compliance report and also to pay a penalty of Rs 1,00,000.
Paytm Mall submitted its report of compliance with the Order on May 2 and also paid the penalty amount of Rs 1,00,000.