TN’s law minister meets governor; discusses online gambling ban bill

Published on:

Tamil Nadu (TN) law minister S. Regupathy met with the governor on December 1 to address concerns brought up by the Raj Bhavan. TN Governor RN Ravi has yet to sign the bill outlawing online gambling and a few other online games.

Due to Governor RN Ravi’s delay, the ordinance made public by the state government in October lapsed a few days ago.

Speaking on the urgent matter, the Regupathy said, “17 people had killed themselves due to online gambling and games when the ordinance was promulgated. It has risen to 25 now. The Governor had asked for some clarifications. We have given it in writing. We hope he will give assent soon.”

While speaking on the difference between online and offline versions of these games, Regupathy said, “Online games can be programmed with algorithms in a certain way, and money of ordinary people could be looted. For example, one would get an SMS saying he or she has been offered ₹ 8,000 to play an online game. Ultimately, that person may lose 8 lakh.”

“We don’t have any such reports of people killing themselves in offline games,” he added.

The previous AIADMK government also passed a law banning internet games, but the court overturned it after an appeal by online gaming companies.

In response to comments from the general public, educators, academicians, and psychiatrists, the current DMK administration assembled a panel led by retired judge Justice K Chandru of the Madras High Court and submitted this Bill based on its recommendations.

The BJP-run union government selected governors, according to the current governing party DMK, take a hostile stance “operating a parallel administration” against elected governments in states where the opposition is in power. The DMK has requested the expulsion of the Tamil Nadu Governor.

The Governor has not yet signed 21 laws passed by the Tamil Nadu Assembly, some of which have been pending for more than a year.

A few of the bills seek to limit the governor’s ability to designate vice-chancellors to state-run universities. The Assembly in Kerala has also approved bills that would have the Governor cease serving as Chancellor of Universities.

Recently, the Supreme Court also declared that Governors must follow state government recommendations.

According to Regupathy, “Unless we bring about a constitutional amendment making Governors respond within a stipulated time frame, we can’t demand so.”

Governor RN Ravi described withholding of bills as “a courteous way of saying no” in a recent conversation with a group of journalists.

When asked specifically how he could block bills that would limit his authority and whether the courts should have the final say, he responded, “the Governor has powers to do it.”