Four persons, claiming to be gaming enthusiasts, have moved the Gujarat High Court to be impleaded as respondents in two public interest litigations (PILs) seeking a ban on location based-augmented reality game Pokémon GO in the country for “posing danger to public safety” and “hurting religious sentiments”. They have countered the objections raised in the two PILs against the popular game.
The fresh petition, filed earlier this week, has been moved by Samyak Deora, 25, a city-based industrialist and three students Mahim Sharma, Arjun Rathore and Luv Shah. The petioners said that they want join the PILs seeking a ban on Pokémon GO since they are “directly affected if any relief is granted (to those who have filed the PILs)”. Claiming to be “genuine gamers and gaming enthusiasts”, they said that they could “assist this court” with respect to the various technical grounds raised in the PIL on possibilities of threat to privacy and security.
Mentioning the religion of the petitioners, the plea said they can demonstrate that “an augmented reality game depicting virtual eggs around a place of worship cannot be superimposed and inferred as a violation of religious sentiments”.
The petition said that since notices have been sent to US-based gaming company Niantic, Inc., which is not subject to jurisdiction of the High Court, the company might not contest the case. However, being “ardent gamers and gaming enthusiasts they will be in a position to demonstrate the baseless and tenuous nature of the arguments advanced by the opponent”.
The hearing on this petition is likely to be held on October 5.
Earlier, two PILs were filed by Alay Dave and Sanjay Chaudhari seeking a ban on the game. They have said that the game, which is yet to be officially launched in India, posses security threats to the users and also hurts religions sentiments by showing images of eggs at places of worship of different religions. They also cited examples of Iran, Vietnam and other countries where the game has been banned, and mentioned Australia, Japan and the US nations who’ve decided to take stern action for violating the law while playing the game.