The importance of measurement activities were felt significantly around the globe during the middle part of the twentieth century. Governments around the globe converge together and a treaty was formed amongst the member countries and the International Organization of Legal Metrology (OIML) was formed in the year 1955.India is one of the member countries and is a signatory of the said organization.
OIML maintains an international laboratory named International Bureau of Weights and Measures (BIPM) at Paris, France. From time to time OIML publishes recommendations on various weights, measures and weighing and measuring techniques and is responsible for draft in international laws on Legal Metrology.
With regard to keep pace with rapid advanc es made in the field of science and technology all over the world, OIML evolved a practical system of units called the ‘SI System of Units’ which includes seven fundamental units .BIPM maintains the international standards and prototypes with respect to these units.
In India the Directorate of Legal Metrology is a separate wing under the Ministry of Food, Civil Supplies and Consumer Affairs. The Government of India enforces the Legal Metrology enactments through the Director at the centre; who in turn delegates his powers to the Controllers of the state for effective enforcement of the provisions.
On tracing back in history, in the pre-medieval era itself, we find standards prescribed for weights and measures. One astonished to notice the bewildering nature of the then weights and measures which has an antique value in the present century. Various standards in respect of weights and measures in Harappan Civilisation stand a mile-stone in the history of urban development.
Before independence we were ruled by the Empire Kingdom and they have formulated their own standards for weights and measures such as seer, rattal, etc… After Independence the Soverign state of India felt it necessary to amend the existing regulations. Hence the Standards Act was enacted in 1958 and was subsequently repealed by the Standards of Weights and Measures Act 1976 and the Standards of Weights and Measures (Enforcement) Act 1985.Both the Acts have been repealed and from April 2011, the Legal Metrology Act 2009 have been brought in to effect.
The National Physical Laboratory of India, Situated in Delhi, maintains the Standards of SI Units in India and Calibrates the national standards of Weights and Measures. The standards maintained at NPL are periodically compared with International Standards maintained at BIPM in Paris. This exercise ensures that Indian National Standards are equivalent to the International Standards.
Indian Institute of Legal Metrology
The institute was established under the provisions of Standards of Weights and Measures Act, 1976 (60 of 1976) for imparting training in Legal Metrology and other allied branches of knowledge and it is situated at Ranchi in Jharkand. The person appointed to the post of Legal Metrology officer shall have to complete the Basic Training Course at Indian Institute of Legal Metrology.
Regional Reference Standard Laboratory (RRSL)
Regional reference standard laboratories are established for the maintenance and up keeping of reference standards at regional level. They are situated at Bangalore, Ahammedabad, Faridabad, Guwahati and Bhuvaneswar.Secondary standards of Kerala Legal Metrology Department are verified against the reference standards at RRSL, Bangalore.
The metric system of weights and measures was first introduced in Kerala from 1st October 1958.
There were respective weights and measures regulations for the area comprised in the erstwhile Travancore and Cochin states and The Malabar Area. But the enforcement of the regulations then existing was not as effective as it ought to be. In the year 1956 the central Government enacted the Standards of Weights and Measures Act prescribing the metric units of weights and measures for the whole of India and States passed their own enactments for the enforcement of the said Act. And in our State also a separate department was formed under Revenue Secretariat under the name Department of Weights and Measures. Later in accordance with the recommendations of OIML, the department was renamed as department of Legal Metrology in 1992.
Government of Kerala enacted the Kerala Legal Metrology (Enforcement) Rules, 2012.