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[Online Rummy] Gujarat HC Directs State Govt To Treat PIL For Regulation Of Online Gambling As A Representation [Read Order]

Akshita Saxena
13 Oct 2020 11:04 AM GMT
[Online Rummy] Gujarat HC Directs State Govt To Treat PIL For Regulation Of Online Gambling As A Representation [Read Order]
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The Gujarat High Court has observed that the present legal framework in reference to gambling should be regulated to include virtual/ online/ Cyber space gambling.

The Bench of Chief Justice Vikram Nath and Justice JB Pardiwala has directed the State Government to consider a PIL, seeking regulation of online gambling, as a representation, and do the needful in the "larger public interest".

"We direct the State of Gujarat to consider this writ application as a representation. If the online games involve gambling and if they are being played in the State of Gujarat, then it is expected of the State to deal with the same appropriately as gaming is a subject matter of List II of the Schedule VII of the Constitution of India," the Bench observed.

It further directed:

  • If any website is operating in the State of Gujarat or is engaged in any gambling games, the State shall deal with the same in accordance with law, rules, regulations and the policy, as may be applicable.
  • The State shall also examine whether such games result in money-laundering or violation of laws relating to foreign exchange as well.
  • We expect the State Government to promptly look into the aforesaid issues and take an appropriate decision in accordance with law in larger public interest before it is too late.

The Court was hearing a PIL contending that online gambling platforms are engaged in illegal activities, but remain unchecked owing to deficiencies in the Gujarat Prevention of Gambling Act, 1887.

The Petitioner also expressed concern over Internet gambling's "readily accessibility" to children, and urged the Court to pass appropriate directions.

Though the Bench noted that it is not permissible for the Courts to direct the State Government to enact a particular type of legislation, however, it said that the Courts can always draw the attention of the State Government to all the aforesaid facts so that the State Government can look into the matter at the earliest and do the needful in accordance with law.

A similar direction was passed by the Delhi High Court last year, in M/s. Deepati Bhagat v. Union of India & Anr.

In July this year, the Madras High Court also stressed upon the urgent need to address and regulate "online games" such as rummy, bridge, nap, poker, etc. that are luring unemployed youth to bet their money.

"Not only in the State of Tamil Nadu, but also in the entire Country, such online games…are mushrooming and there are so many advertisements appearing in almost all the social media and websites. It appears these advertisements are mostly targeting the unemployed youth, inducing them to play such games, on the pretext of earning money comfortably from their home," Justice B.Pugalendhi had observed while hoping that the Government will do the needful.

Case Title: Amit M Nair v. State of Gujarat

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