Bombay HC refuses to interfere with Centre’s move to make ISI mark on toys a must
The Bombay high court (HC) has refused to interfere with the Toys (Quality Control) Order, 2020, issued by the Union commerce ministry, which makes ISI marking by the Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS) mandatory for all toys in India.
“Apart from describing standards for regulating trade activity, the order of 2020 also has an element of public health,” said the bench of justice Nitin Jamdar and justice Milind Patil while refusing to stay implementation of the order.
“It is made applicable to the toy products or materials used in trade by children under the age of 14. The purpose and intent of order is to protect the health and safety of children, who are normally the consumers of toy products,” the bench added.
The department for promotion of industry and internal trade of the commerce ministry had issued the notification on February 25, making BIS norms mandatory for all toys used in India, for ensuring standardisation and quality adherence of toys. The move came in the wake of a study conducted by Quality Council of India revealing that 67% imported toys failed in the testing survey.
United Toys Association had challenged the validity of the order, contending that it was not possible to comply with it, and it will have serious implications on the entire toy industry. The association claimed that the order was unwarranted, especially when import quality control mechanism was already in place.
It was also argued on behalf of the association that the quality control order was beyond the powers conferred upon the central government under the BIS Act, 2016, as sections 16 and 17 of the Act only refer to rule of standard mark and do not contemplate a scheme as sought to be done by the impugned order.
HC, however, did not find merit in the submissions. The bench said section 25(3) of the BIS Act “prima facie confers powers on the central government to issue directions as may be necessary to protect the interest of consumers and other stakeholders and it cannot be said that the order was issued without competence.”
As regards to the hardship likely to be faced by the industry, the bench said it was a matter to be considered by the central government, but it cannot be a ground to stay the order, which has come in the form of a subordinate legislation.
HC also took into consideration that the order was notified in February and was slated to come into force from September 1, but the central government has extended the date to January 1, 2021, in order to give more time to the industry.