TN legislature disregarding SC judgments by banning online rummy and poker: Mukul Rohatgi in Madras HC

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Senior counsel Mukul Rohatgi, representing Junglee Rummy, A23 and Games24x7, accused the Tamil Nadu state government of ignoring all the judgments passed by the Supreme Court, including ruling rummy as a game of skill.

He again questioned the competence of the state to form the legislation to ban online rummy, something that Rohatgi believes only the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY) can do.

“The sole question, in this case, is whether online rummy and poker are games of chance or games of skill. It has been held over the last 50 years that they are games of skill. The fact that rummy is a game of skill is today, cast in stone. That is the law declared under Article 141 (law declared by the Supreme Court) of the Constitution,” said Rohatgi.

This comes as a part of the ongoing legal battle between the state and the online gaming companies after the state government banned any form of online gaming that consisted of a monetary aspect. This included both games of skill like online rummy and games of chance like online betting.

Rohatgi also cited the previous attempt of the state government of imposing something similar, which was denied by the High Court. A similar stance was also taken by Kerala and Karnataka, who were also denied keeping the Supreme Court’s decision in mind.

“The link between public health and online rummy is specious. If the State wants to protect public health, why not ban liquor?” he asked.

Following in his footsteps, senior counsel C. Aryama Sundaram representing the All India Gaming Federation (AIGF), said that its members only provide games of skill. “We are a self-regulatory body, and a player placing money on his own skill is not betting or wagering,” he claimed.

Senior attorney Sajan Poovayya argued that because MeitY has already announced the amendments to online gaming rules, which will regulate online gaming, companies and other intermediaries, the State could not establish its own separate legislation.