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What to do when a Custom show cause notice is received as I bought sex toy online?

Posted On : January 8, 2022
What to do when a Custom show cause notice is received as I bought sex toy online?


India is democracy whose economy got liberated in the nineties and brought lots of changes in the financial, economical and business world leading to rise and growth of our country as uprising super power in all terms. At one hand it was the desire of the growing country to rise and grow more by allowing the foreign capitalists and corporates to operate in India and on the other hand it had to ensure that the Indian industries and small players do not get negatively impacted by the liberalization. The lawmakers and economist had a serious role to play and maintain the balance between growth, foreign investments, import-export and Indian home-grown business owners thus although it allowed free movements of few goods and services to and from the country and restricted many goods and services.

With the idea to regulate the import and export of certain goods the government made many laws and amended many of them from time to time depending on what was good and justified for the Indian economy as well as society. A country allows only those items to be allowed easily which are neither going to impact the local industries greatly nor are supposed to be prohibited as per the socio-economic and legal conditions. For example, howsoever a country develops or get modernised it will never allow the drugs and psychotropic substances to be imported for illegal use and abuse. That’s the reason that some of the allowed dutiable goods have heavy duties to be paid while importing and some of the items which are banned or prohibited items like a sex toy or drugs cannot be allowed to be imported.

The Laws & Regulations

In India there are two major laws which govern the rules and regulations around the import of goods and services and empower the custom to act as per those laws- The Customs Act of 1962 and The Foreign Trade (Development and Regulation) Act, 1992. In case of import of sex toys or online buying of sex toys, the Section 292 of Indian Penal Code,1860 is also attracted.

Online purchase of sex toys in India

Since sex toys and their selling is banned in India hence none of the shops deal with or sell these toys. Even the Indian e-commerce companies complying with the laws of the land they do not sell sex toys in India. Usually, the buyer finds a sex toy for online purchase only on those e-commerce websites which are registered and operated outside India like and from other countries. As the cyber world is boundaryless and one can buy any item from anywhere by paying the money online so these people who are residing in India out of curiosity and sometimes mistakenly they order sex toys online from these websites. Once the purchase is made then those companies which are operating outside India, they pack the send the purchased sex toy through international courier or post to the Indian address of the buyer. Invariably those items which come from outside have to go through the custom scanner where they are being held up as it belongs to a prohibited category.

What happens after the online purchased sex toy is held up with custom?

Once the custom arrives at a conclusion that a contraband material has been imported to Indian Territory then it confiscates the item and intimate the buyer for further actions. The custom sends a show cause notice under section 111 of the Custom Act, 1962 and Section 3 of the Foreign Trade (Development and Regulation) Act, 1992. It is also mentioned that as per Sections 112(a) and (b) of the Custom Act the person can be held liable for penal action too.

What to do when a custom notice is received?

Once a person received the notice from the custom stating that a sex toy has been received in his name which was sent from abroad then the person who receives the notice is given an opportunity for personal hearing to put forward his pleadings and submissions. Ideally the Custom allows you to prove that it is not a prohibited item or to let you request them to confiscate the item with some monetary penalty attached to it. A person who receives the show cause notice can himself go and appear in front of the Custom or can hire a Lawyer to represent him to the Custom. When a representation is made to the Custom with a formal application and invoice copy, bank transaction details attached to it then the Custom provides an opportunity for personal hearing. In the hearing the accused person can plead whatever he wants to and then the Custom will take its own decision to confiscate and penalize the person.

How the case is closed?

Once the penalty has been imposed and paid by the accused person then the Custom confiscates the sex toy that was bought online and the case is closed. The person who ordered the sex toy online is left without any remarks or creating any history with his name unlike it happens with a criminal case as per the Indian Judicial System.



1.     Can I buy a sex toy which is being sold by some e-commerce companies outside India?

Ans: No. you should not buy those items as once bought they will send it to your address in India and a sex toy is banned item in India you will be called for by the Custom when it arrives.

2.     Can I buy a sex toy when I am in other country?

Ans: This depends on the laws of that country and if it allowed there then you can buy there.

3.     I bought a sex toy in foreign country when I travelled there, can I bring it with me while traveling back to India?

Ans: You can buy a sex toy in a foreign country, if allowed there, but you cannot bring it to India with you.

4.     When I bring the sex toy with me while travelling back to India how will they catch me?

Ans: When you travel back to India at airport or port you can pass through a green channel if you nothing to declare but still the Custom can check your baggage.

5.     How much penalty does one have to pay when caught by Custom?

Ans: The penalty amount depends upon the value of the item that has been ordered but the minimum is Rs. 5,000/-.

6.     If a case is made by Custom for buying sex toy, then will it be recorded as criminal case against my name?

Ans: No, if the penalty and paid and proper application is submitted to them then there will be no criminal charges against you.



Written By :
Abhimanyu  Shandilya

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