Bombay High Court: Body massager can’t be categorised as “Sex Toy” and prohibited for import

Mar25,2024 #Bombay High Court #Sex Toy

Published on: March 25, 2024 at 14:33 IST

Bombay High Court has ruled to quash an order by the Commissioner of Customs department confiscating consignments of body massagers, stating that the action was based on unfounded assumptions regarding their potential use as “Adult Sex Toys.” The court criticized the Commissioner’s decision as a product of imagination and personal perception rather than concrete evidence.

The Commissioner had confiscated the goods on the basis that body massagers could potentially be used as adult sex toys, a claim vehemently contested by the consignment owners. The Central Excise and Service Tax Appellate Tribunal overturned the Commissioner’s order, rebuking it as purely imaginative.

Challenging the tribunal’s decision, the Commissioner approached the Bombay High Court, which further scrutinized the case. The court found the Commissioner’s reasoning to be “peculiar” and “astonishing,” emphasizing that body massagers are commonly traded in domestic markets and are not considered prohibited items.

Additionally, the court dismissed the Commissioner’s reliance on section 292(2) of the Indian Penal Code, stating that such provisions were not applicable to machines like massagers, which differ from items like books or drawings deemed obscene.

Despite the Commissioner’s claims of seeking expert opinions, the court deemed such assertions insufficient to justify the confiscation. The bench clarified that the possibility of alternative use alone cannot warrant prohibition, especially when the primary purpose of the item is legitimate.

In its ruling, the Bombay High Court upheld the tribunal’s decision, dismissing the Commissioner’s petition and affirming the legality of the consignment. This judgment highlights the importance of evidence-based decision-making and adherence to legal standards in customs enforcement.

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