Amazon India recently got in trouble, after its platform listed an ashtray, which was objected upon by many customers and others on social media. The e-commerce platform was forced to immediately take down the listing, and the matter seemed to die with that. However, in a latest development, a Meerut-based NGO has filed a plea against Amazon India for the listing, and a local court has accepted to hear the plea. The additional chief judicial magistrate-1 court has stated July 3 as the next day of hearing in the case. Also Read - Amazon School from Home store live in India: What's newAlso Read - Ola to offer free oxygen concentrators to the needy
The ashtray on sale objectified and insulted the modesty of women. How can Amazon India, an established e-commerce giant put such an item for sale? This product, with its offensive design, is likely to increase crime rates since it can be used by people of all age groups. Pooja Singh, secretary of the NGO, which is the Progressive Women Welfare Society, told ToI. Also Read - Amazon Fire TV Cube (2nd Gen) launched in India: It comes with Alexa integration
Further, Sanjeev Sharma, who is the advocate representing the NGO, told the publication, We have filed an appeal under section 156 (3) of the CrPC (any magistrate empowered under section 190 may order an investigation). We have requested the court to file a case under section 292 (sale, etc. of obscene books and other items), section 502 (sale of printed or engraved substance containing defamatory matter), section 505 (statements conducing to public mischief), section 509 (word, gesture or act intended to insult the modesty of a woman), section 120 (b) (punishment of criminal conspiracy) of the Indian Penal Code. It should be noted that the principal secretary, information and broadcasting ministry of India has also been made a partner with Amazon India against whom the case has been filed because it is the responsibility of the government to give permission and ensure what information is made public.
Amazon India declined to comment on the current development. However, when the listing was first spotted earlier this month, BGR India had reached out to the company, when a company spokesperson said, 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. RELATED: Amazon India criticized for selling an objectionable ashtray
Essentially, Amazon India has over a lakh of sellers, who collectively put up thousands of postings each day. So, while it is difficult to monitor each and every listing that goes up, every seller is provided with a list of guidelines, which mandates them from not listing a product which is legally prohibited. Now the product in issue is an ashtray, and is not exactly an illegal product, however, Amazon India noted that it was flagged and criticized by many, and so it pulled down the listing after looking into the matter.
In this situation, the need for Amazon India is to filter products before they are listed. It’s understood that the product wasn’t ‘illegal’, but that still does not justify the listing of the product. Again, that may call for a new category to filter products of obscene nature. And after the tricolor doormat incident, the e-commerce platform has ought to be more careful. With incidence like these repeating, the credibility of the platform will undoubtedly be affected.
The product in issue was an ashtray, which had a woman carved on top of it, sitting with her legs wide open. Many called it the vaginal ashtray and many criticized the product as objectifying women in an ‘obscene manner’. At the same time, Amazon India s sketched the product as a tabletop ashtray for decoration. Selling for Rs 4,249, the listing described the ashtray as a product for home decor, bar decor and also as fantasy gifts for men or smokers. ALSO READ: Tricolor doormat row: Amazon expresses regret for offending Indian sentiments