Madras High Court strikes down ban on online gaming The Court said that a blanket ban violated the Constitutional right to practise any profession or to carry on any occupation, trade or business In a landmark judgement, the Madras High Court has struck down a Tamil Nadu law that put a blanket ban on online gaming. The Bench of Chief Justice Sanjib Banerjee and Justice...
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Madras High Court strikes down ban on online gaming
The Court said that a blanket ban violated the Constitutional right to practise any profession or to carry on any occupation, trade or business
In a landmark judgement, the Madras High Court has struck down a Tamil Nadu law that put a blanket ban on online gaming.
The Bench of Chief Justice Sanjib Banerjee and Justice Senthilkumar Ramamoorthy on 3 August concluded that the wide-ranging complete ban was ultra vires to the constitutional provisions that allowed an individual to practice any profession, occupation, trade or business.
Part II of the Tamil Nadu Gaming & Police Laws (Amendment) Act, 2021 had banned betting or wagering in cyberspace and also banned games of skill if played for a wager, bet, money, or other stakes. It banned games of skill if played for a wager, bet, money or other stakes.
The bench concluded that by imposing a wide-ranging complete ban, 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).
An Amendment to the Tamil Nadu Gaming Act, 1930 imposing a ban on online gaming, including online rummy and online poker with stakes, was challenged in the Court (Junglee Games India Private Limited v State of Tamil Nadu).
The Court declared the Part II of the contentious Act as unconstitutional and observed that the legislation assailed has to be regarded as something done capriciously, irrationally and which was excessive and disproportionate.
The bench opined that the doctrine of severability is not applicable either since the amended definition of "gaming" runs through the entire legislation.
The Court concluded that the amendment was disproportionate to the object it sets out and that no part of it can be saved. The Court struck down the amendment in its entirety, terming it as ultra vires the Constitution and added that nothing in its judgment rendered today (Tuesday) would prevent the State government from introducing an appropriate legislation conforming to the Constitutional principles of propriety.
The Court had reserved its judgement on 26 July after concluding hearing a batch of petitions that challenged the ban. During the hearing, the Court had observed that the law in its present form may not survive judicial scrutiny.
"I think it is better we throw it out, you better get a more intelligible legislation," Chief Justice Banerjee had orally observed.
Advocate General R Shunmugasundaram arguments in the case for the State of Tamil Nadu after the matter was heard afresh from 5 July following the change of government in the southern state. Former Advocate General Vijay Narayan had represented the previous AIADMK government that had imposed the ban.
Among the battery of lawyers who represented various petitioners included senior advocates Dr Abhishek Manu Singhvi, Mohan Parasaran, Aryama Sundaram, A.K. Ganguli and P.S. Raman. Parasaran was briefed by advocates Suhaan Mukerji, Varun Mathew, Nikhil Parikshit of PLR Chambers.
Advocates Adithya Reddy, Akshat Gupta of G&J Partners and Jay Sayta appeared for the online rummy company, Dgtly Infotech (OPC) Pvt Ltd.
Other counsels who appeared in the Court on behalf of various other petitioners were advocates Arun Karthik Mohan, Rahul Unnikrishnan, Sashidhar Sivakumar, Pavitra V, Potharaju Ashutosh, Suhrith Parthasarathy, Surasika Parthasarathy, Ashwini Vaidialingam, Amritha Sathyajith, N.S. Tanvi, Vishakh Ranjit and Swarnam Rajgopal.
Please find enclosed the quote from Mr. Abhishek Malhotra, Managing Partner, TMT Law Practice basis the ongoing verdict - Madras HC strikes down Tamil Nadu law banning online gaming.