online game ban: Karnataka moves SC challenging HC judgment, seeks restoration of ban on online games – The Economic Times

Clipped from: https://economictimes.indiatimes.com/tech/technology/karnataka-moves-sc-challenging-hc-judgment-seeks-restoration-of-ban-on-online-games/articleshow/90533791.cms

Synopsis

In its special leave petition (SLP) before the apex court, the Karnataka government has said that the state requires the law to protect people from falling for online games and losing money.

Bengaluru: Karnataka has moved the Supreme Court challenging the High Court judgment quashing some key amendments to the state government’s Police Act, 1963, to prohibit betting and wagering in online games.

“We had amended the law as reports showed the use of money for betting in online games had ruined large numbers of youth and their families. We decided to place some restrictions to eliminate the use of money and responded with a law,” Karnataka Home Minister Araga Jnanendra told ET.

“But the court struck down the amendments. We still think our response was right as many families have said the online betting menace has destroyed them financially. That is why we decided to move the Supreme Court,” the Home Minister added.

In a February 14 judgment, a division bench consisting of Chief Justice Ritu Raj Awasthi, and Justice Krishna S Dixit held that sections of the amendments were ultra vires of the Constitution. The court, however, said it was not striking down the entire law, but only some contentious provisions.

The judgment followed writ petitions from several gaming companies and the All India Gaming Federation (AIGF) challenging the law, which they said allowed games of skill, but banned the use of money in any form of games.

Also Read: Karnataka gaming ban: FIR against Dream11 founders, firm says compliant with laws

In its special leave petition (SLP) before the apex court, the Karnataka government has said that the state requires the law to protect people from falling for online games and losing money.

Explaining the sequence of events, the state said that it was during the hearing of a PIL seeking a ban on online games last year that the high court had asked the government to clarify its stand on online games.

The government, in July, informed the court that it had decided to amend the police act to provide for a ban on online games of chance involving money.

In its February judgment, the high court also stopped the state from interfering with the online gaming business and related activities of the gaming firms. The petitioners had contended that Karnataka’s law effectively curbed online games of skill too, which had been allowed by the Supreme Court.

The court, however, left it open to the legislature to consider a new law on betting and gambling in accordance with the Constitution.

The Karnataka government notified the law banning betting and wagering in online games on October 5 after the Legislature passed the bill in September, last year. The Karnataka legislature passed amendments to the Karnataka Police Act, 1963 during its recent sitting.

Tamil Nadu had, last year, promulgated an ordinance amending its Gaming & Police Laws Act, 2021, which banned online gambling. The Madras High Court, however, struck down the amendments calling the law unconstitutional. Kerala too had last year prohibited online rummy games under the purview of the Kerala Gaming Act. It was set aside too.

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