Well this is turning to be a case of 50 shades of grey. To test the limits of India’s homosexuality laws, a lawyer in Delhi has taken ecommerce giant Snapdeal and Chennai-based Ohmysecrets.com to court for selling vibrators and abetting gay sex and exhibiting obscene products, reports Quartz.
The report mentions that Suhaas Joshi, an advocate in the Supreme Court, mentioned in his petition that products such as anal lubes and massagers that are shaped like the male phallus violate the section 377 of the Indian Penal Code, along with other acts such as section 292, 292 A, 293 and 294 which prohibit obscenity in public. He also mentioned that he is not against homosexuality but trying to clear the confusion and that companies are selling products which are used for same sex activity, but at the same time, Indian government says such acts are illegal.
To recap, Section 377 is the controversial anti-gay Indian law that criminalises any intercourse that is “against the order of nature.” The Delhi high court had earlier decriminalised the act, but India’s Supreme Court subsequently overturned the decision and has now left it to the Indian parliament to take a decision on repealing section 377.
However it’s worth noting that Ohmysecrets.com has shut down and visitors to the site are shown the following message.
This is not the first time online marketplaces have run into trouble and earlier last month, the Telangana government sought to block Flipkart and three other sites including Imbesharam.com,Thatspersonal.com and Ohmysecrets.com for “objectionable content”. The websites sell sex toys and intimacy products while Flipkart introduced a sexual wellness section in July last year.
Speaking to the Economic Times, Snapdeal said: “We understand that at times sellers may list products which may be considered inappropriate by some, and we take down such listings upon being notified of the same and conduct a necessary review of the same.” This reminds us about the responsibility of online market places and Section 79 of the IT Act Section 79 which says that intermediaries will not be liable “for any third party information, data, or communication link made available or hosted by him, if the intermediary does not initiate the transmission, select the recipient or select or modify the information.” The Intermediary is also liable if it doesn’t do due diligence, or address complaints within 36 hours.