[Online Gaming Law]: Supreme Court dismisses Andhra govt appeal against High Court order

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Senior lawyer Kapil Sibal represented the Andhra Pradesh Government in the appeal against the High Court’s direction to form an expert committee to determine if rummy is a game of skill or game of chance.

The case before the High Court pertains to constitutionality of the online gaming ban law enacted by the state government similar to the laws enacted by Telangana and Tamil Nadu. Senior counsel Sajan Poovayya represented the respondent online rummy companies.

Dismissing the appeal, the apex court noted that the order passed by High Court is an interim order directing formation of a committee to examine the issue of online rummy. The court noted that even in the interim order, the High Court has formulated and answered question on physical rummy being a game of skill in favour of the respondent.

The apex court however noted that the committee can proceed to give its report and the High Court can provide its final order thereafter looking into the issue afresh, without getting influenced by the findings in the interim order, including considering the central government’s recent amendments in the IT Rules to regulate online gaming.

In the event, the online rummy companies succeed in their writ petitions in the High Court, the order passed by the HC will not be given effect to for three weeks in order to enable the state govt to approach the apex court again with a fresh appeal on the question of law.

The bench of Justices JK Maheswari and KV Vishwanathan verbally expressed concern about addiction and minors playing on online gaming websites. The bench also orally observed that there is something wrong in the IT Amendment Rules passed by central govt.