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Attorney General Questions Maintainability Of Meghalaya's Suit Challenging Lotteries Regulation Act Provision
Attorney General For India R Venkataramani on Monday informed the Supreme Court that the Centre had preliminary objections on the maintainability of the suit challenging section 5 of the Lotteries (Regulation) Act 1998.
States of Meghalaya and Sikkim had approached the Supreme Court against the decision to ban their state lotteries in other states.
The context of the suit is that as per Section 5 of the Act, the Centre has authorized State Governments to prohibit the sale of tickets of a lottery organized, conducted, or promoted by any other State.
"We have objections to the maintainability of the suit", Venkatramani said before a Bench of Justices Dinesh Maheshwari and Hrishikesh Roy. Giving a background, he apprised the Bench that there are two conflicting decisions of the Supreme Court on whether a suit is maintainable to challenge a statutory provision. Eventually, it was referred to a larger Bench and it had come up in August, last year, the Court was told.
"Either we await the outcome of those proceedings, alternatively, I have one submission to make...", he said.
Then the petitioner gave a short explanation of his plea.
"If the maintainability itself is challenged, then that particular issue will have to be determined, the Bench said.
Senior Advocate Mukul Rohatgi, who came when the hearing was midway, said that a suit will always lie to strike down a rule.
"It's a purely legal question, of whether section 5 is valid or invalid. If a question is raised, it must have some basis...According to me, a suit lies under section 9 of the Code of Civil Procedure", the counsel argued.
"Basis or no basis will be determined by the Court", the Bench responded.
The Court then asked the AG to file a short note within two weeks and the State of Meghalaya to file its response after a week.
It also asked the other Defendants to file its written statements in two weeks.
The matter will be next heard on February 7.
Case Title: State of Meghalaya vs Union of India | Original Suit No. 1/2021