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PIL plea in Madras HC against new norms on gold jewellery
A public interest litigation petition has been filed in the Madras High Court to declare as illegal and unconstitutional provisions that permit the sale of only gold items with hallmarking, that too in the denomination of 14, 18 and 22 karats.
Such provisions pertain to hallmarking of Gold Jewellery and the Gold Artefacts Order, 2020, and the Bureau of Indian Standards (Hallmarking) Regulations, 2018.
The First Bench of Chief Justice Sanjib Banerjee and Justice Senthilkumar Ramamoorthy, before whom the plea came up for hearing on June 29, ordered notice to the Union government returnable by July 27.
The Chennai Jewellers Association, represented by its president Vummidi Udaya Kumar and M Jahubar, proprietor of Fareedha Jewellers, are the petitioners.
The interim prayer of the petitioners was to stay the operation of the sections under challenge and to restrain the authorities from taking coercive action against the jewellery for non-compliance.
According to petitioners, the gold hallmarking, a purity certification of the precious metal, had been voluntary so far and the 2020 order made it mandatory.
It permits the sale of gold jewellery of 14, 18 and 22 Karats alone by the registered jewellers and not any other cartage. Hitherto, the jewellers were selling gold articles of 15, 16, 17, 19, 20, 21 and 24 Karats and now these cannot be sold beyond the extended period of the deadline, which was June 15 this year.
The stocks would thus become illegal and attract penal action and the same would result in heavy financial loss to them. It would also force buyers/consumers to limit their choice of buying any cartage of gold.
India is the only country to bring in such an ''unreasonable'' restriction.
Furthermore, the infrastructure available for hallmarking jewellery under the regulations is woefully inadequate.
There are over five lakh jewellers in India and in Tamil Nadu alone there are 25,000 jewellers.
Jewellery that needed to be hallmarked is close to a whopping 1,000 crore, the petitioners said.