Tamil Nadu moves Supreme Court against Madras HC order that quashed online rummy ban law

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The Tamil Nadu government moved the Supreme Court against the Madras High Court (MHC) order that struck down certain amendments introduced by the Tamil Nadu Gaming and Police Laws (Amendment) Act, 2021, as unconstitutional in the matter of Junglee Games India Pvt. Ltd. & Anr. v The State of Tamil Nadu & Ors, reported a local news agency Hindu Tamil.

The MHC noted that the challenged amendment was capricious, irrational, excessive, and disproportionate. In an order dated 3rd August 2021, the first bench of Chief Justice Sanjib Banerjee and Justice Senthilkumar Ramamoorthy observed that the doctrine of severability is also not applicable since the amended definition of gaming runs throughout the Act, concluding that the amending Act is disproportionate to the object and ultra vires the Constitution.

Ever since the order, opposition parties have been demanding the government to enact another law or file an appeal. AIADMK leader and Former Law Minister C Ve Shanmugam had urged the DMK Government to approach the Supreme Court and obtain an interim stay. Mr. Shanmugam was the law minister when the amendment was enacted.

The current law minister S. Raghupathi was responding to queries from journalists yesterday when he said a new bill is not tabled yet as the government decided to approach the Supreme Court. On 4th August, S. Regupathy had confirmed that the DMK-led government will introduce a new law to ban online games like poker and rummy for stakes in the state.

Soon after the judgment was delivered, the Chief Minister has advised for passing another law to ban online rummy by specifically mentioning the rules in this regard and also by specifically mentioning the reasons for the ban, in view of the welfare of the general public,” S. Regupathy was quoted then.

A division bench of Justice N Kirubakaran and Justice K Pugazhendhi earlier said that the previous Tamil Nadu government had acted promptly in imposing a ban on online rummy and it expects the DMK government to bring in a fresh law in 6 months.

This month the Tamil Nadu neighbor, Karnataka had approved a draft of the Karnataka Police (Amendment) Bill, with an aim to ban online gambling, proposing a prison term of up to three years and a fine as high as Rs 3 lakh for violators and is likely to be tabled in the upcoming legislature session.

The draft Bill defines online games as, games involving all forms of wagering or betting including in the form of tokens valued in terms of the money paid before or after the issue of it or electronic means and virtual currency, also electronic transfer of currency in connection with any game of chance.

This is a developing story.