Karnataka gaming ban: Kar HC division bench hears the petitions, next hearing on November 18

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The writ petitions before the Karnataka High Court challenging the ban on online gaming were heard by a division bench headed by Chief Justice today.

A batch of seniors Dr. Abhishek Manu Singhvi, Sajan Poovayya, DLN Rao, Vivek Tankha appeared for the petitioners. The petitions were earlier heard by a Single Judge bench headed by Justice Krishna S. Dixit who fixed November 11 as next date of hearing when he last heard the matter. However, a special bench was constituted today comprising of Chief Justice and Justice Krishna S. Dixit.

Dr. Singhvi appearing on behalf of Gameskraft started arguments, largely repeating all the points made before single judge for benefit of the new bench. The arguments were heard for almost 2 hours.

“It is irrelevant whether any game of skill is played for stakes or money or not. The element of chance is important, once it is a game of skill, games played with stakes or consideration is irrelevant,” Singhvi argued.

Sundaram appearing for AIl India Gaming Federation intervened Singhvi and said it is not relevant to go into each and every game, and all skill games are on same footing. Several High Courts such as Punjab & Haryana, and Bombay have held Dream11 to be game of skill.

Singhvi concluded his submissions asking for interim relief in terms of stay of operation of the impugned enactment so that status quo is maintained on decades of jurisprudence on games of skill pre the amendment of the enactment.

Aryama Sundaram began submissions on behalf of AIGF Mumbai but the court said it will continue hearing on some other day. The matter is limited to only grant of interim relief and stay of the enactment, will be next heard again on November 18 at 2:30 pm when Sundaram & other lawyers will continue arguments for interim relief.

In the earlier hearing, Advocate General Prabhuling K Navadgi orally assured the court that no precipitative action would be taken against online gaming companies for the time being.