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CAIT demands 7-day ban on Amazon for not indicating country of origin

It is unhappy with a meagre penalty of Rs 25,000 levied by the MCA.

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NEW DELHI: Expressing dissatisfaction with the Rs 25,000 penalty levied on Amazon India by the ministry of consumer affairs, the Confederation of All India Traders (CAIT) has demanded a seven-day ban on the e-commerce giant for not providing the mandatory details of 'country of origin' on the products sold on the platform.

For the record, the ministry of consumer affairs last month sent a notice directing e-commerce portals to clearly display country of origin on products listed on their websites. However, Amazon and Flipkart were found to be non-compliant, and the former was fined Rs 25,000 for it.

CAIT has said that the fundamental of levying the fine is to make offenders realise their fault so they do not commit the same offence again.

“However, the paltry monetary penalty has no significance at all and it is demanded that a seven-day ban on Amazon and other big ecommerce companies who are continuously offending the law and policies, should be imposed on them… Let there be an exemplary punishment," CAIT wrote in a statement.

CAIT national president BC Bhartia and secretary general Praveen Khandelwal said that imposing such a small fine on a foreign e-commerce giant for violating Indian law is nothing but a mockery of our judicial and administrative system.

"The punishment should be equal to the damage caused by them on our economy and it should have reflected a clear message to the foreign e-commerce players," they said.

Bhartia and Khandelwal added that in the wake of the magnitude of e-commerce business in India and PM Narendra Modi’s call for ‘vocal for local’ and Atmanirbhar Bharat, the description of the country of origin is now mandatory and for disobeying this law for the first time, the relevant ecommerce portal should be banned for seven days, for second offence, it should be banned for 15 days and for third offence, the portal should be banned till the time it complies fully with the law.

They insisted that a fine or penalty should always be exemplary and be in proportion to the offence committed. Having this yardstick as the barometer, the fine of a token amount of Rs 25,000 is more like compromising with the law.

Further, they claimed that there is some vested interest behind the continuous violation of the Indian law by these ecommerce companies and hence, the fine imposed needs to be steep.

"Law should be equal for everybody and other ecommerce players (Flipkart, Myntra) should also face the heat for flouting rules. We are unable to understand why they were not fined. Such an indecisive attitude of the authorities towards the foreign e-commerce players is quite unreasonable," they added.

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