Describing lottery as a “vice” and an “evil”, the Supreme Court Thursday upheld the Kerala government’s decision to prohibit sale of online lottery tickets and said state governments are within their legislative competence to regulate such activities.
A bench headed by Chief Justice H L Dattu said that a state government can “organise, conduct or promote” a lottery and it would be within its legislative power to enact laws and rules to prohibit online sales.
Dismissing a batch of appeals against the ban, the bench said lottery is a species of gambling, which is considered as a “pernicious vice” by civilised societies. “The Rig Veda, Smritis and Arthashastra have condemned gambling as a vice,” said the bench, also comprising Justices R K Agrawal and Arun Mishra.
The court said the common forms of gambling are innocuous when compared with the widespread pestilence of lotteries. “The former are confined to a few people and places, but the latter infests the whole community; it enters every dwelling; it reaches every class; it preys upon the hard earnings of the poor; it plunders the ignorant and the simple,” it said.
The judgment came on an appeal filed by All Kerala Online Lottery Dealers Association, Sikkim and others questioning the ban.
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