In the backdrop of rise in number of suicides by gamers, who allegedly lost their money in Online Gaming, the Tamil Nadu Governor, Banwarilal Purohit has signed an ordinance on Friday (20th November) to "ban online gaming" involving betting.
The Raj Bhavan issued a Statement on Friday stating that the Government submitted a proposal to the Governor seeking promulgation of an Ordinance by amending relevant acts, as "due to online gaming, innocent people, mainly youngsters are being cheated and some people have committed suicide."
The Statement further reads that "in order to avoid such incidents of suicide and protect the innocent people from the evils of online gaming, the Government have submitted proposal to Hon'ble Governor to promulgate an Ordinance by amending the Tamil Nadu Gaming Act, 1930 (Tamil Nadu Act III of 1930), Chennai City Police Act, 1888 (Tamil Nadu Act III of 1888) and the Tamil Nadu District Police Act, 1859 (Tamil Nadu Act XXIV of 1859)."
It may be noted that the Ordinance provides the following:
i) Banning the persons who are wagering or betting in cyber space using computers or any communication device or resource;
ii) The people who are found gaming will be punished with a fine amount of Rs.5,000/- and six months imprisonment;
iii) The people who open / keep common gaming house will be punished with a fine amount of Rs.10,000/- and two years imprisonment;
iv) Banning "electronic transfer of funds" used for wagering or betting, distributing the winnings, prize money;
v) Punishing the persons who are running the company which conducts online gaming by wagering and betting.
It may be noted that the Madurai Bench of the Madras High Court on Tuesday (03rd November) remarked that "it is disheartening to note that several precious lives have been lost due to Online Gambling".
The Bench of Justice N. Kirubakaran and Justice B. Pugalendhi was hearing a Writ Petition which was filed seeking issuance of a Writ of Mandamus to direct the official respondents to take appropriate action to ban Online Rummy hosted by the seventh respondent and others.
Earlier, on 24th July, 2020, Justice B. Pugalendhi, while disposing of Crl.O.P. (MD) No.6568 of 2020 [D. Siluvai Venance v. State], went into detail as to how Online Gambling, in the name of online games, is causing loss of lives and insisted on the necessity to regulate the programmes on par with the Telangana State Government, wherein Online Gambling has been banned.
Gujarat High Court
Similarly, an issue was raised before the Gujarat High Court and the First Bench of Gujarat High Court in R/Writ Petition (PIL) No.146 of 2020, by order dated 29.09.2020, had directed the State of Gujarat to deal with the Online Games involving gambling appropriately.
The Bench of Chief Justice Vikram Nath and Justice JB Pardiwala had 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 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 had observed.
Madras High Court notice to Virat Kohli, Saurav Ganguly and others
Notably, the Madurai Bench of Madras High Court on Tuesday (03rd November) issued notices to Indian Cricket Team Captain Virat Kohli and BCCI Chief and former Indian Cricket Team captain Sourav Ganguly, for their involvement in online sports app advertisements.
The Bench of Justice N. Kirubakaran and Justice B. Pugalendhi has also issued the notices to actors Prakash Raj, Tammana Bhatia among others.
Notably, this order came in a Petition, which has been moved in the Madurai Bench of Madras High Court by one Mohammed Rizvi through Advocate K. Neelamegamn Thuja alleging that after losing money in such apps, some youth died by suicide in various parts of India.
Delhi High Court
Also, last month, the Delhi High Court had directed the Union Of India & Delhi Government to treat a petition filed against online gambling, as a representation and decide the grievances ventilated in the petition, as narrated in detail in the writ petition.
The Bench of Chief Justice D. N Patel and Justice Prateek Jalan had directed the respondents (UOI & Delhi High Court) to decide the representation in accordance with law, rules, regulations and government policies applicable to the facts of the case, as early as possible and practicable