BATTLEGROUNDS MOBILE INDIA launch: MeitY, MHA have no power to ban game for now

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Tug of war to bring BATTLEGROUNDS MOBILE INDIA (BGMI) continues! On the one hand, spirits are high as gaming aficionados are buzzing with conjecture about BGMI’s possible launching on 18 June 2021 since it will be one month from the day Krafton commenced pre-registration process, but on the other hand several politicians have been urging the Narendra Modi government to ban the game and stop it in its tracks even before its launch.

The anticipation and curiosity amongst BGMI fans is glaringly clear on social media with regards to the launch date. On official BGMI Instagram account, several fans expressed their disgruntlement with the ongoing uncertainty in the comment section. One such fan shared he is becoming impatient with the constant pre-registration and teaser post from BGMI and Krafton and threatened that if they continue to do so, he might unregister and unfollow BGMI. Comments section was awash with many others echoing a similar sentiment.

Ever since the ban on PUBG Mobile was enforced, gamers across the country has been desperately waiting for the game to return. Few days ago, a few Indian politicians made a few appeals to the Prime Minister and the Minister of Electronics and Information Technology to block the release of the game within the country citing security issues.

Earlier Arunachal MLA Ninong Ering wrote a letter to PMO, calling for the ban of the game. This move by the politicians has a chill down the spines of those awaiting BGMI. Recently, a 21-year-old social media influencer Paras Singh, whose alleged racial remarks – termed Congress MLA Ninong Ering a “non-Indian” and said Arunachal “was a part of China”- was arrested in Ludhiana, Punjab. He had to issue a public apology later.

Since then, more letters from politicians have poured in demanding a ban om the game even before the launch. A few days ago, hashtag #BanBattlegroundsPUBG picked up the momentum on the micro blogging site Twitter.

Despite the ongoing roadblocks, it seems that the game might not have to take more rough routes or to get a nod from the government. At least, not from Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY) and the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA).

Reported first by IGN, Dr Gaurav Tyagi (an Assistant Professor at Jawaharlal Nehru University) received a response to an RTI filed that “MHA does not grant permission for launching any app. MeitY issues blocking direction for any mobile applications under the provisions of section 69A of the Information Technology Act, 2000.”

However, MeitY is well within the right to block or ban any mobile app in the interest of Nation’s sovereignty and integrity as per jurisdiction. As was the case when PUBG Mobile was initially banned in September 2020. The game made several attempts to come back but failed to get a nod. MeitY earlier issues a clarification on the filed GemWire RTI that mobile app was banned under 69A and the ban is for the specific application. No further formal discussion was held between ministry and Krafton.

So while we hope the game gets a smooth launch in India, it might face some struggles if it violates the data security laws of the country. After all, no application, however big or small, is above the law of the land.