The question of whether sex toys in India are banned is still a topic of debate. In a country with a rich cultural diversity, there are no laws prohibiting sex toys, but the laws related to obscenity do limit the market for these products.
Regardless of the fact that the laws are vague on the matter, sex toys are now in high demand in the country. Many startups are attempting to find a legal way to bring these items into the country. They also need to follow government rules on how they can market and sell their products. You can now easily get sex toys in ahmedabad, you can get sex toys in hyderabad – you name it and you can get sex toys there!
Obscenity is defined as any material that depraves or corrupts the mind of a person or any object that arouses a prurient interest. This includes explicit words, pictures, and objects. If these items or ideas are exhibited or sold, it can be a criminal offence. An official can invoke Section 292 of the Indian Penal Code to restrict the sale, distribution, and exhibition of obscene items.
The Indian Customs Act of 1962 made it illegal to import or export obscene objects into the country. This has been applied to sex toys as well. It was also used to cite Kavita Khumbhra, who had allegedly tried to import sex toys from abroad, but had to face charges of obscenity.
Recently, the Supreme Court of India had its say on the subject. While it did not make a formal ruling on the legality of sex toys, it did uphold the legality of customs-imposed obscenity decisions. But a key point of contention was the ambiguity associated with sex toys’ graphic elucidation.
Previously, it was considered legal to import sex toys into the country as long as they were not obscene. However, in 2011 the Calcutta High Court made a decision that was highly relevant to the sex toy debate. Despite its sweeping decision, the court ruled that sex toys are not banned in India.
In the same year, a Delhi-based lawyer filed a complaint against e-commerce sites for violating the sex toy laws by listing a wide range of obscene adult products on their website. A police investigation was ordered after the complaint was lodged.
In recent years, the booming online market for adult lifestyle products has caused a number of legal issues for both domestic and international e-commerce players. One of the most recent examples was a dispute between the e-commerce company Snapdeal and an individual who was accused of selling sex toys.
Some websites have a discreet shipping policy, so importing sex toys from India is not as traumatic as many may think. Likewise, importing sex toys from the country can be a lucrative business if done properly.
However, there are many uncertainties regarding the legal status of sex toys in the country. Ultimately, the law is only going to be clearer with time. Until then, consumers have the right to privacy. And the legislators are well advised to clarify what constitutes an obscene object and how it should be packaged for sale.