Betting and Gambling law: Court calls Madhya Pradesh government hypocrite over delay in enacting a law

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The Madhya Pradesh High Court bench of Justice Vivek Agarwal disposed of a suo moto case on online gambling this Tuesday with scathing remark that the state government was playing in the hands of the vested interests, who are mighty and influential players having huge stake in online gambling.

Last year, while hearing hearing ,a bail application, the court had taken suo motu note of online gambling and called for a wider consideration of legality “of such programmes sponsored by star players and actors, alluring youth to make money.”

Madhya Pradesh government in December 2022 told the high court that a committee of officers was constituted to consider the issue of online gambling and has sought three months time to prepare an appropriate legislation on the subject, and to get it passed in the legislative assembly.

In the earlier hearing on 13 March, the court had directed the Home Secretary to file the draft of the law along with an affidavit in seven days and listed the matter for 21 March. The state had filed an appeal to the division bench against the orders of the single judge bench of Justice Vivek Agarwal which quashed all the orders relating to suo-moto note of online gambling menace in the state.

With the earlier orders quashed by a division bench which is binding on the single judge bench, Justice Vivek Agarwal had disposed of the pending suo moto case with scathing remark on the government’s attitude towards enacting an online gambling regulation law. Justice Vivek Agarwal said the state’s rush to file an appeal to the division bench exposed the duality and hypocrisy of the state government.

It is worth noting that Madhya Pradesh Home Minister on numerous occasions announced that the state is finalising a law to regulate the menace of online gambling. Way back in January 2022, the government first announced that it is planning to regulate online gaming and gambling.