October 17, 2021 2:42:48 am
The High Court of Bombay at Goa on Thursday dismissed a petition that challenged the restriction on entry of local residents of Goa in its casinos but allowed tourists.
“Decision to prohibit entry for the persons other than the tourist which excludes persons domiciled or permanent residents of Goa is a conscious decision of the State, considering its evil consequences on its subject,” the court observed.
The petition was filed by law graduate Shukr Usgaonkar (26), who contended that the rule contravenes Article 14 of the Constitution by prohibiting access to permanent residents of Goa. “The distinction being made between tourists and non-tourists miserably fails the test of reasonable classification which must be fulfilled by any classification to withstand the rigors of Article 14 (right to equality before law),” he argued.
Usgaonkar had challenged the constitutional validity of Section 13D (e) and 13(G) read with Section 2(7) and 2(8) of the Goa Public Gambling Act, 1976.
Any person who is a permanent resident or is domiciled in Goa is barred entry to “casinos” or places or areas where gaming activities are actually conducted as authorised under Section 13A of the Act.
Advocate General D J Pangam argued that the activity of gambling cannot be equated with any trade or commerce to assert any fundamental right to practice any profession or to carry on any occupation, trade or business.
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