Treat PIL against online gambling as representation: Delhi HC directs Centre and the State

imagesource:gamblingsites
imagesource:gamblingsites

A petition in the nature of Public Interest Litigation (PIL) was filed by Mr. Tarun Chandiok before Delhi High Court seeking ban on online games of chance and fantasy games.

The petitioner had contended that these fantasy games and games of chance do not involve skill and therefore amount to gambling. Hence they should be declared illegal under Public Gambling Act, 1867 and Delhi Public Gambling Act, 1955.

The petitioner prayed before the court that the Union of India and Delhi Govt. should be directed to frame appropriate regulations regarding this area wherein access to such gambling websites and mobile applications (apps) should be discontinued.

The petitioner also prayed that the respondents, that is, Centre and State Govt. should be directed to issue directions to broadcasters, television channels, radio, internet companies, etc. prohibiting running advertisements, campaigns, endorsements, promotional features, etc.in relation to online gambling as it violates the Public Gambling Act, 1867 and Delhi Public Gambling Act, 1955.

The petitioner had prayed in its petition, “issue a direction, order or writ, including a writ in the nature of mandamus against the Respondents thereby, directing them to formulate a policy and a Gaming Commission as much in order to comprehensively regulate and redress the grievances of online players as to guard the interests of minor children and impressionable youth up to a certain age from the long shadow such engagement is well known to cast…” as reported by Live Law.

The Delhi HC consisting Bench of Chief Justice D. N Patel and Justice Prateek Jalan disposed of the petition by directing the Union of India and the State Govt. to treat this PIL as a representation and formulate policies in accordance with the rules, laws, regulations etc. addressing the grievance of the petitioner. The Delhi HC had disposed of a similar petition in month of September.

Notably, few days ago Gujarat HC had also passed a similar direction regarding same subject matter while Rajasthan HC had disposed of the petition against online fantasy game platform Dream 11 stating that, online fantasy games and sports do not amount to gambling.

The Union of India and Delhi Govt. have responded that matter had been forwarded to Delhi Transport Minister Kailash Gahlot who also holds the Information and Technology portfolio, where petitioner submitted that no further information has been received regarding this.