On 22 April, the Meghalaya government appointed Justice (Retd) Naveen Srivatsava as the Chairman of the Gaming Commission constituted under the new gaming regulation. He will be in the position for 3 years which can be extended for another term of three years or till he attains the age of 65 years.
Recently, the Hynniewtrep Youth Council (HYC) had demanded the government to nullify the appointment of retired Judge of Allahabad High Court, Justice Naveen Srivastava as the chairman of the Meghalaya Gaming Commission.
But little is known about Justice Naveen inside Meghalaya. He hails from Uttar Pradesh and is in judicial service for 30+ years. Starting with Addl. Munsif in 1987, he retired last December as an Additional Judge of the Allahabad High Court.
He was promoted to a district judge in 2017 and was recommended as judge of Allahabad High Court by the Supreme Court collegium in February 2021. As a chairman of the Gaming Commission, he is entitled to a salary which is equivalent to the salary of a Judge of a High Court.
The Meghalaya Gaming Commission is empowered to issue directions to ensure games are played in a fair manner and to act as a dispute resolution body for disputes between players and gaming operators. The government recently issued three provisional gaming licenses.
Chief Minister Conrad K Sangma recently said the state government came up with the Meghalaya Regulation with the intention to regulate the gaming and jackpot parlours operating across the state for the past 25 years. He reiterated that the law was not enacted to start new casinos or start new gaming parlours within Shillong.
Various organisations, including the influential Meghalaya United Christian Forum (MUCF), voiced “apprehension and shock” over the state government’s decision to legalise gambling and online betting for tourists coming to the state. Last month, Minister James Sangma clarified that gambling will not be permitted by locals.