By-Pragya Ajay Singh
On Tuesday the Madras High Court struck down an amendment to the Tamil Nadu Gaming Act 1930 imposing a ban on online gaming, including online rummy and online poker with stakes.
The Court held that the Part II of Tamil Nadu Gaming and Police Laws (Amendment) Act, 2021 was unconstitutional which banned betting or wagering in cyberspace and also games of skill if played for a wager, bet, money or other stakes.
The Division Bench of Chief Justice Sanjib Banerjee and Justice Senthilkumar Ramamoorthy concluded that by imposing a wide-ranging complete ban, the least intrusive test was violated and the ban had, thereby, fallen foul of Article 19(1)(g) of the Constitution of India (right to practise any profession, or to carry on any occupation, trade or business).
The Court said that more ok may not have been recognised in any previous judgment in this country to be a game of skill, but the evidence in such regard as apparent from the American case (the United States of America v. Lawrence DiCristina) even convinced the Law Commission to accept the poker as a game of skill in its 276th Report.
The Chief Justice had orally observed that he thinks it is better to throw it out, you better get more intelligible legislation and the Court had reiterated that the law of the contemporary period may not survive judicial scrutiny.
The Matter was reserved by the court on July 26.
Advocate General R Shunmugasundaram appeared on the behalf of the State government presently led by the DMK after the matter was heard afresh from July 5 before this the former Advocate General Vijay Narayan had represented the then AIADMK-led regime, which had introduced the ban. Advocates Akshat Gupta and Adithya Reddy of G&J Partners and Jay Sayta appeared on the behalf of Dgtly Infotech (OPC) Pvt. Ltd, online rummy company.