Online gambling: HC directs CS to file statement

Online gambling: HC directs chief secretary to file statement

Representative image. Credit: iStock Photo

The High Court on Tuesday directed the chief secretary to make a statement on the issue of online gambling. A division bench headed by Chief Justice Abhay Shreeniwas Oka passed this order after noticing that the government had been reluctant to take a stand on the issue despite allowing several adjournments.  

The court recalled that a notice was first issued in the PIL in November 2020 and for the past four months, the government had failed to place a cabinet decision as well the statement of objections before the court.

On Tuesday, again the government sought two weeks time to file a statement of objections.

“Even as of today, the government has not placed on record its stand and the cabinet decision. Thus, there is a failure to abide by the assurance. Hence, we have no option but to direct the chief secretary to file an affidavit explaining as to why the orders of this court are not complied with. The affidavit shall be filed within one week from today,” the court said.

The PIL is filed by D R Sharada, a resident of Davangere.

The petition said the government had not created any regulatory regime for online games, gambling or betting of any nature.

The gullible and hapless sections of the society, particularly the youth, are falling prey to online gambling and betting in the midst of a pandemic situation, it stated.

On the other hand, The Online Rummy Federation (TORF) has claimed Rummy as a game of skill and not gambling as such and is thus exempted it from the applicability of the penal provisions.

It said that the policy prohibits the use of automated players (technically known as ‘BOTS’) and an in-house policy precludes employees from playing real money games on the platform.

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