Chennai: The Madras High Court on Tuesday has struck down a ban imposed by the Tamil Nadu State government on online games.
The state government had previously banned online games such as online poker or rummy citing youngsters were losing a large portion of money online. A group of petitioners approached the High Court which struck down the law.
Petitioners approached the bench of Chief Justice Sanjib Banerjee and Senthilkumar Ramamoorthy in the case of Junglee Games Private Limited vs the State government of Tamil Nadu.
The bench declared the Part II of the TN Gaming & Police Laws (Amendment) Act, 2021 as unconstitutional. This act is related to banning of betting or wagering in cyberspace and also games of skill if played for a wager, bet, money or other stakes.
The petitioners observed that playing online rummy required skill and was not a game of chance. The state government also argued that it had banned online games including Rummy since they had resulted in a suicide and seven deaths in the last five years.
The bench observed that the state government's order was capricious, irrational, excessive and disproportionate.
A wide ranging complete ban, according to the bench, the least intrusive test was violated. The ban has thereby fallen foul of Article 19(1)(g) of the Constitution (right to practise any profession, or to carry on any occupation, trade or business), the bench added.
A report also cited the bench as observing that the bill which was passed without any opposition in the House, "has more to do with optics just ahead of the state elections.
The bench, has offered the state government liberty to pass another legislation.
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