India's first legal sex toy and wellness products store, 'Kama Gizmos', which was opened this year on Valentine's Day in Goa, has now been shut down. The country's first official brick-and-mortar sex shop was shut after the head of the Calangute village panchayat ordered its closure citing 'lack of trade licence'.
Dinesh Simepurushkar, sarpanch of Calangute village panchayat said that Kama Gizmos did not have mandatory trade permit therefore it was deemed as illegal, according to a report in Moneycontrol.
"We became aware of the existence of the store only after its details went viral in media and on social media platforms. As per rules, every business entity has to acquire a trade licence to set shop within the panchayat's jurisdiction. The owners did not apply for a permit; hence, it was deemed illegal," Simepurushkar told the news portal. The sarpanch added that he also received several complaints about the store and questions were raised about its moral implications and legality.
However, there is no law that specifically prohibits the sale of sex toys in a brick-and-mortar store in the country, the news portal said citing experts' opinion. In India, the interpretation of 'vulgarity' and 'obscenity' is mentioned under Section 292 of the Indian Penal Code, 1860 (IPC), which states that any book, pamphlet, paper, writing, drawing, painting, representation, figure or any other object will be obscene if it is lascivious, appeals to the prurient interest or tends to deprave and corrupt the minds of persons. The section penalises the sale, public exhibition, distribution, import and export of any such obscene objects and punishes the wrongdoer with imprisonment up to five years and fine up to Rs 5,000.
Kama Gizmos was a joint venture of two sex product retailers--Kamakart and Gizmoswala. The two retailers had set up shop in Goa's touristy area of Calangute. Post the panchayat's decision, now Kama Gizmos' Instagram account is unavailable and its official website displays 'Account Suspended'.
According to the fourth edition of India Uncovered: Insightful Analysis of Sex Products' Trends in India, a report curated by ThatsPersonal.com, India's appetite for sexual wellness products has spiked 65 per cent post coronavirus lockdown.
Maharashtra topped the chart in the state ranking for the sale of sex products, followed by Karnataka and Tamil Nadu. Amongst cities, Mumbai remains the biggest buyer followed by Bengaluru and Delhi. Among Tier-2 cities, Lucknow has emerged as the top city in purchase of sex products while Panipat, Shillong, Puducherry (Pondicherry) and Haridwar are some of the prominent Tier-3 cities.