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Legislation to ban online games like rummy, poker soon: Tamil Nadu law minister

On Tuesday, the court quashed the amendment to Tamil Nadu Gaming Act and allowed a batch of PILs from Junglee Games India Private Limited and others

Written by Janardhan Koushik | Chennai |
Updated: August 4, 2021 4:15:26 pm
The Madras High Court on Tuesday struck down a recent amendment made to the Tamil Nadu Gaming Act, passed in 1930, which imposed a ban on online gaming of rummy and poker with stakes. (Pixabay/Representative image)

A day after the Madras High Court struck down a recent amendment made to the Tamil Nadu Gaming Act, passed in 1930, which imposed a ban on online games with stakes like rummy and poker, the Tamil Nadu Law Minister S Ragupathy said a new legislation will be passed to ban the games in the state.

In a statement, Ragupathy said, “Following the demand of DMK president and Chief Minister M K Stalin, the then ruling AIADMK government urgently enacted an amendment to the Act on November 21, 2020 to ban the online rummy game.”

He added, “Although the government puts forth its views on the ban of online games, the High Court had said that the government did not specify enough reasons when the law was made and without formalising the rules, online gaming can’t be banned.”

Ragupathy said since public welfare is important, as soon as the order was passed in the court, Stalin had instructed to clearly frame the requisite rules, guidelines and reasons. “A new law banning games like online rummy would be passed soon,” Raghupathy said.

On Tuesday, the first bench of Chief Justice Sanjib Banerjee and Justice Senthilkumar Ramamoorthy quashed the amendment and allowed a batch of PILs from Junglee Games India Private Limited and others.

“By imposing a wide-ranging complete ban, the least intrusive test was violated and the ban had thereby fallen foul of Article 19(1) (g) of the Constitution (right to practice any profession, or to carry on any occupation, trade or business),” the bench said.

It added, “The legislation assailed has to be regarded as something done capriciously and irrationally. It was excessive and disproportionate…This court, therefore, strikes down the amendment in its entirety as ultra vires the Constitution.”

The bench, however, granted liberty to the state to pass another legislation without any lacunae. It added, “…nothing in this judgment would prevent the state government from introducing an appropriate legislation confronting the Constitutional principles of propriety.”

— with PTI inputs

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