A complaint has been filed against ecommerce players Amazon India, eBay and Shopclues and their Managing Directors about an objectionable post about the online sale of ashtrays portraying a naked woman. The case came up before Chief Metropolitan Magistrate Babru Bhan, who sought an action taken a report (ATR) from the Delhi Police on the plea for lodging FIR against them.
The complaint lodged by advocate Gaurav Gulati has sought registration of FIR for offences punishable under sections 107 (Abetment of an offence), 120B (criminal conspiracy) and 293 (sale of obscene objects to young person) of the IPC. In addition, the complaint also invokes relevant provisions of Indecent Representation of Women Act and the Information Technology Act.
The complaint alleged that as per media reports published in June this year, the online shopping portals were “selling nude woman figurine ash-tray which was indecent”, which received huge flak on social media. At that time Amazon had removed the objectionable product and stated, “Amazon operates an online marketplace in India. Sellers selling their products through the amazon.in marketplace are solely responsible for all necessary product compliance and are required to sell products which are legally allowed to be sold in India. Whenever concerns about the listed products get raised, we review the case with the sellers. In this case, the said products are no longer available for sale.”
The court has directed the police to apprise it if any action has been taken on the complaint. Also, while seeking the ATR by 30 October, the court has also asked if as a result of investigation, any cognisable offence was made out against the accused or a FIR registered.
The complaint is one of the few incidents where ecommerce sites have found themselves in trouble over culturally offensive products being sold on the site. This year in January, Amazon had found itself in similar trouble when a Twitter user shared that the company’s Canadian unit was selling doormats bearing the likeness of the Indian flag. Soon after receiving the information, Sushma Swaraj asked the company to apologise and pulled down the products from the website with immediate effect. In case of failure, she also threatened to stop issuing visas to the company’s employees and cancel those already granted. At that time, Amazon India Head Amit Agarwal has reportedly apologised to Indian Foreign Minister Sushma Swaraj on the issue of selling Indian flag themed doormats in Canada.
(The development was reported by Firstpost)