NEW DELHI — A team of local policemen led a raid against “sex toy shop number 32” in New Delhi’s Palika Bazar after getting tipped off about its dealings. Reports estimate that 14 sex toys were recovered and brought to justice, so to speak.
Comical though it may seem, the sale, or even possession, of dildos, dolls, clamps or anything else that might qualify as a sex toy could spell out serious jail time for Indian citizens.
Section 292(1) of the Indian Penal Code states that those selling such goods can rack up two years in the slammer for the first offense and five for the second and beyond. And the reasoning? Sex toys, the law says, appeal “to the prurient interest” and are thus obscene.
Yet, as columnist Sandip Roy from FirstPost notes, just because an item is associated with sex and pleasure doesn’t make it ipso facto “prurient,” which connotes an excessive or morbid fascination with sex.
Echoing articles from The Times of India, Roy asserts that the Palika Bazar is notorious for selling adult products and that the practice is rampant.
He concludes that legislative repression of Indian sexuality is not only hypocritical (given reports of government corruption) but has had an impact on the cultural psyche as well: “The loud Indian sex-tourists in Uzbekistan and the arrest of the sex-toy sellers of Palika Bazar are two pieces of the same problem — our inability to understand sex as an act of pleasure.”