Industry body, All India Gaming Federation (AIGF) has challenged the recently notified Tamil Nadu online gaming ban law before the Madras High Court. In a petition running into more than 50 pages, AIGF has argued that the ban on poker and rummy is without any basis. The industry body also pointed to the fact that Governor RN Ravi has returned the bill to assembly once. The matter will tentatively be heard on Thursday.
Governor RN Ravi gave his assent to the bill earlier this month after the assembly passed it for a second time. Under the Constitution, a governor has no option but to approve a bill once passed by the assembly for a second time.
AIGF said that the deliberations or the report of Justice Chandru Committee have not been made public. Further, the gaming body said that the school survey undertaken to back the law is not on any scientific basis and is merely in subjective nature.
The gaming body submitted to the Court that the new enactment nullifies the decision of Madras High Court in Junglee Games case but fails to remedy the defects pointed in the earlier law. The earlier law enacted in 2021 was struck down as unconstitutional by the Madras High Court.
“It is evident that at a policy level the Impugned Act has been enacted without any basis or proper material to substantiate its requirement. It is evident that the Respondents have decided to ban a legitimate activity and are now trying to come up with reasons for it,” AIGF said.
The gaming body has also alleged that the Act banning online games was a violation of Article 14, 19 and 21 of the Constitution of India. Article 14 provides for equality before the law, Article 19 talks of freedom of speech and expression and Article 21 deals with protection of life and personal liberty. These arguments were also taken up in earlier similar cases before Madras and Karnataka High Courts.