Center gives three months’ time for gold jewelers with old stocks to shift to HUID

The Center on Friday told the Kerala High Court that jewelers having jewelery stocks with old four-digit hall marking will be given three months for hallmarking with the six-digit alphanumeric HUID (Hallmark Unique Identification).

The submission was made when a writ petition filed by the All Kerala Gold and Silver Merchant Association seeking a directive to the Center and Bureau of Indian Standards to allow the merchants to sell the old hallmarked gold jewelery after April 1 came up for hearing.

As per the new order of BIS, the sale of hallmarked gold jewelery and gold artefacts with only a six-digit alphanumeric HUID (Hallmark Unique Identification) would be permitted from April 1.

The Center submitted that the hallmarking at the first point of sale had been implemented from July 1, 2021. As many as 43,153 jewelers had registered with BIS. When BIS sought a declaration from these jewelers on their stocks, only 16, 243 jewelers had responded. It said a stock declaration would be taken from them and they might be allowed to clear their old sticks or get them re-hallmarked.

Counsel for the petitioner contended that the order prohibiting the sale of gold ornaments without a six-digit HUID was arbitrary. The jewellers, most of them small-time jewellers, were facing problems due to the order. They would be prevented from doing business as they could not sell the existing stock of their gold ornaments.

‘Unreasonable restriction’

It had placed an unreasonable restriction on the fundamental right of the petitioner to carry on the business. Besides, the present BIS specification would result in penal consequences if the jeweler indulged in customization of their gold articles. The small gold merchants constituted 95 per cent of the gold business community and they would be forced to close their business after April 1 in view of the order making six digit HUID mandatory.

The order was issued without considering the basic business practice prevailing in the society. It would also be detrimental to the customers as well as they would not be able to sell the existing gold ornaments, he pointed out.

The petitioner also sought to keep the implementation of the order in obedience till the representation given by the petitioner to the Union Ministry of Consumer Affairs is acted upon.

The High Court reserved its order on the petition.

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