Mandatory hallmarking in the current format infringes consumers\u2019 right: Jewellers to govt. Mandatory hallmarking of gold jewellery in the current format doesn't give consumers the freedom of right to choose and restricts their choice/jewellery trade that has a 5,000-year-old legacy in India, All India Gem \u0026amp; Jewellery Domestic Council (GJC) said in a letter to the government. Addressed to the\u00a0Department of Consumer Affairs under the Union Ministry of Consumer Affairs, Food \u0026amp; Public Distribution, the letter from the national apex body of the gems and jewellery industry\u00a0reads that the mandatory hallmarking is supposed to become enformed by June 2021. The Bureau of Indian Standards\u00a0(BIS)\u00a0which approves the standards for purity and fineness of gold articles, lays down that gold articles of only 14k, 18k and 22k\u00a0karatages will be allowed in the mandatory hallmarking to become applicable in June 2021. This specifically excludes the sale, storage and exhibition of all the other\u00a0karatages of gold articles.\u00a0The\u00a0BIS, by not recognizing the other\u00a0karatages has imposed a fetter on the freedom of jewellers to sell articles of different Karatages. \u201cSeveral Indian\u00a0court judgements highlight the difference between regulation and prohibition of a trade by the\u00a0government. The Supreme Court has also emphasized that a prohibition imposed on the fundamental right to carry on trade and commerce cannot be regarded as reasonable if it is imposed not in the interest of the general public,\u201d GJC said. Even international standards approve all kinds of\u00a0karatage (9K to 24K) and lay down no restriction. The Watal Committee has concluded that the\u00a0government may consider a review of some of the provisions of the BIS Act and the\u00a0draft\u00a0regulations so that the interest of both the producers and consumers are harmonised while stipulating standards. \u201cThe current restraint imposed by BIS is not in conformity with the prevalent\u00a0international standards in the industry including the World Gold Council which has recognised purity and fineness of multiple\u00a0karatages ranging from 9k to 24k. In India, gold is sold and bought in many variants ranging from 1k to 24k. Different regions have unique demands for different Karatages.\u00a0Gold is also used as an investment option especially gold coins gold of 23k and 24k is highly preferred by the customers in India. BIS should include 23k and 24k in the list of approved\u00a0karatages,\u201d said\u00a0Ashish Pethe, Chairman, GJC. It is common to find 23k and 24k gold items in Akola, Kolhapur, Solapur, Pune and Jalgaon in Maharashtra while in Haryana, Punjab and\u00a0Western Uttar Pradesh, they usually sell 20k and 21k. \u201cThe restriction imposed on the Karatage of jewellery allowed to be sold and hallmarked must be reviewed in line of International practice, and the demands, both domestic and international. BIS should focus on its core objective of guaranteeing purity to the customer and Jewellers must be given the liberty to sell any\u00a0karatage of jewellery that they intend to sell, and the consumer is willing to buy as long as it is hallmarked,\u201d\u00a0he added. India has always been a country which is known for its traditional and hand-made jewellery. 24-carat gold is the purest form of gold and its softness allows it to be highly ductile and malleable. \u201cIf the jeweller has the necessary machinery and expertise to manufacture articles and jewellery of 24-carat gold, he must not be denied of his right to do so,\u201d said\u00a0Saiyam Mehra, Vice Chairman,\u00a0GJC. Gold bullion in the form of bars and coins of 23k and 24k purity is often bought by customers in India as it is considered an investment option. If a customer wishes to buy a 23k or 24k Gold Jewellery, then why should there be any restrictions in buying a better purity of\u00a0gold. The\u00a0industry is already in crisis post covid lockdown in 2020 and now with the second wave coming in, things will be very much difficult even more. While\u00a0international standards approve all types of karatages, restriction in karatages will add fuel to the fire\u201d. All\u00a0jewellers are in favour of\u00a0hallmarking however GJC has urged the\u00a0government to consider postponing and extending the deadline for implementation of mandatory hallmarking of gold jewellery to June 2022 instead of June 2021 due to COVID-19. GJC had already organised a national level industry meet to discuss the issues and problems in the mandatory hallmarking regime on 21st April 2021, wherein around 1400\u00a0jewellers had joined. When the delegation from India went to China for World Gold Council and National Stock Exchange meet, it was discovered that 90\u00a0per cent\u00a0of the total jewellery sold in China was 24k. Even in neighbouring countries like Nepal, Bangkok, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka the sale of jewellery of 24k was popular.