The Marking of Heavy Packages Act, 1951

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The Marking of Heavy Packages Act, 1951 was enforced on 25 June 1951. The Act was legislated to give an effect to Marking of Weight (Packages Transported by Vessels) Convention, 1929 held on 30th May 1929. The Convention was supposed to be ratified by all the members of International Labour Organisation, India being signatory to it had to ratify the convention, thus the Law. The convention deals with markings of weight on heavy packages transported by vessels. The act extends to whole of India.

The act defines the term heavy packages as a package or a good not weighing less than one thousand kilograms and it shall only apply to packages have weight equivalent or more as defined in Article 1 of Marking of Weight (Packages Transported by Vessels) Convention, 1929 held on 30th May 1929 and ratified under section 2 sub clause (a) of the Indian Act. The act specifically applies to transport that sail on water bodies of any kind.

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The act under section 3 mandates marking of any consignment being transported through a vessel and incase it is difficult to detect the weight of a consignment the approximate weight of such consignment shall be noted. Section 4 of the act necessitates appointment of inspectors who shall keep a check and the inspectors so appointed shall be public servants within the meaning of section 21 of the Indian Penal Code. These inspectors have been given power to enter into a vessel and conduct search and inquire whether all the packages have been marked or not. Incase a package is not marked as per the provisions of the Act or is not marked at all, the inspector has powers to withhold the package or the inspector himself can mark the package and the expense incurred by him in doing so shall be recovered by him from the consignee of such goods.  That incase a company is held liable under the act all the employees of the company along with the Directors, managers and other officials shall be held guilty under the Act.

Person guilty under the Act in contravention of section 3 shall be punished under section 6 with fine of rupees five hundred. Incase a person obstructs the working of the inspector he too shall be guilty with a fine of rupees two hundred. Court of Judicial magistrate first class has the cognizance of offences registered under the Act. Court shall only take cognizance on an application of the inspector written within six month of occurrence of offence. The Central Government can make rules in conformity with the Act. Such rules shall have an effect once passed by both houses of Parliament.

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by Vibhuti Nakta