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Andhra govt files appeal with SC against HC direction to form a committee to examine if online rummy is game of chance

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The Andhra Pradesh government has filed a Special Leave Petition (SLP) against the Andhra High Court’s order dated 31st January, 2023 to form a committee to determine if online rummy is a game of skill or chance. The case pertains to constitutional challenge to online gaming ban law enacted by the state government.

The Court directed the government to form a committee comprising of a Judicial, Independent-Technical and Non-Technical Members, two persons representing the platform operators, one Police Officer of the rank of Director General [well-versed in Information Technology] as Members of Committee and/any other Member representing the Government.

The High Court in the said order had agreed with online rummy companies that games of skill are distinct from games of chance that cannot be denied the right to freedom of trade and commerce guaranteed under Article 19(1)(g) of the Constitution and a complete ban is disproportionate and arbitrary, but ordered the state government to form a committee  to examine whether playing online rummy will require the same amount of skill as physical rummy or whether the online version of the game may be subject to manipulation and fraud.

The details of the contentions raised by the state government and grounds for appeal before the Supreme Court are not yet clear. The date on which the SLP will be listed for hearing in the Supreme Court has also not yet been announced.

With this, all the states that have enacted online gaming ban laws in recent times are now before the apex court. Appeals filed by Karnataka and Tamil Nadu governments in similar matters were clubbed for hearing while Telangana government impleaded in the matter. 

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