Lawyer in India Takes Retailers to Court for 'Abetting Gay Sex'

Feb 26, 2015 3:37 PM PST

NEW DELHI, India — An attorney in India has filed a criminal complaint against two retail websites that sell sex toys and novelties — SnapDeal.com and OhMySecret.com.

Attorney Suhaas Joshi’s complaint claims that the websites were “abetting gay sex and exhibiting ‘obscene’ products” by listing lubricants and massagers/vibrators.

Joshi’s complaint, according to news portal Quartz, said that products at center of the claim are anal lubes and massagers that are shaped like the male phallus. Specifically, Joshi said that products such as Anal Eaze and the Le Reve ribbed massager were being sold openly on the websites.

Joshi said that the distribution of the products violate the Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code, along with other acts such as Sections 292, 292 A, 293 and 294, which prohibit “obscenity” in public.

Section 377 is an anti-gay Indian law that criminalizes any intercourse that is “against the order of nature.” A district court earlier decriminalized Section 377; however, India’s Supreme Court later overturned the decision.

Quartz noted that a magistrate at New Delhi's Tis Hazari Court directed the police to investigate the matter and submit a report next month.

Joshi’s intent with the complaint, according to Quartz, was to “test the limits of India's anti-homosexuality law.” Joshi said that there's no clarity on whether products that facilitate such activity are legal. 

“I am not against homosexuality,” Joshi told Quartz. “There is a lot of confusion. Companies are selling products which are used for same sex activity, but at the same time, Indian government says such acts are illegal.”

OhMySecret.com, which was named in Joshi’s complaint, closed down last month after operating for about two years.

Last month, India’s state of Telengana weighed whether to block sites such as Flipkart, Lambesharam.com, ThatsPersonal.com and OhMySecrets.com for "objectionable content" because the retailers sold a number of sex toys and novelties.

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