TN: Political parties accuse Governor of favouring online gaming entities by not assenting to the Gaming Ban Bill

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Tamil Nadu Governor R N Ravi on Monday came under severe criticism from political parties for “delaying” his assent to the bill banning online gambling in the state passed by the assembly on October 19.

Officially titled ‘The Tamil Nadu Prohibition of Online Gambling and Regulation of Online Games Bill, 2022’ it can become an Act only when assented by the Governor. The Ordinance which was promulgated on October 1 preceding the Bill lapsed on Sunday. Technically, there is no law to ban or regulate online gaming as of date since the Ordinance has lapsed.

Clarifying the queries raised by the Governor, the Tamil Nadu government on last Friday said no complete ban on online games has been proposed but only online gambling has been proscribed in the state under the Bill. The Governor particularly raised queries in relation to doctrine of proportionality since the earlier law was struck down by the Madras High Court on this ground.

Meanwhile, the DMK leader and MP Kanimozhi wondered why the Governor refused to approve the Bill even after the state government clarified his doubts. “I don’t know why they are so eager to protect online rummy,” she was quoted in media reports. She said her party believes there is no requirement for the post of Governor.

Similarly, several political parties including CPM, CPM, MDMK, PMK, and VCK registered their criticism to Governor over his inaction to assent the Bill. While demanding the immediate approval of legislation, PMK President Anbumani Ramadoss said, “More than 32 people have committed suicide due to online gaming in the last 15 months. In a bid to prevent such a tragedy, a ban on online gaming is a must.”

When press persons queried Telangana and Puducherry Governor Tamilisai Soundarajan on this, she told the media to address their quries to the Tamil Nadu Governor R.N. Ravi. Governor Tamilsai was former president of Tamil Nadu BJP.

Law Minister S Ragupathy said on Monday that the government has answered all the queries raised by the Governor and that the ball is now in the latter’s court. “We expected the Governor to accept the Bill after our reply. But only he will be able to say why he failed to give his assent. We passed the Bill in the Assembly because people were suffering. We have no powers to question the Governor,” he was quoted by Deccan Herald.

Non-NDA parties have accused the Governors of running parallel governments in non-BJP ruled states by stalling bills approved by elected legislatures. Interestingly, Tamil Nadu BJP chief Annamalai has supported the gaming ban enactment.