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Madras HC quashes TN Gaming and Police Laws (Amendment) Act that banned online games

Our Bureau Chennai | Updated on August 03, 2021

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The Court held that the law enacted by the TN government as ultra vires of the Constitution

In a major victory for the online gaming community, the Madras High Court on Tuesday struck down the Tamil Nadu Gaming and Police Laws (Amendment) Act of 2021 that banned online games such as rummy and poker with stakes. The law was enacted by the previous AIADMK government.

The first bench of Chief Justice Sanjib Banerjee and Justice Senthilkumar Ramamoorthy passed the order on a batch of cases filed by private companies offering online games. The Court held that the law enacted by the State government as ultra vires of the Constitution, and that the legislation was excessive and disproportionate to the object.

The petitioners challenged the validity of the Tamil Nadu Gaming and Police Laws (Amendment) Act, 2021, and claimed that they are running legitimate business across the country.

In February, the State government introduced an amendment Bill in the Assembly seeking to replace an Ordinance banning cyberspace gambling. Playing online games like poker and rummy involving betting will invite imprisonment of two years or fine not exceeding ₹10,000 or both in Tamil Nadu.

The Statement of Objects and Reasons for the Bill said that playing online games that are addictive had developed manifold in recent times. Innocent people got cheated and incidents of suicide were reported. To prevent such incidents and protect innocent people from the evils of online gaming, it was decided to ban wagering or betting in cyberspace.

In November 2020, the Governor Banwarilal Purohit promulgated the Ordinance to ban online gaming, wagering or betting in cyberspace.

Published on August 03, 2021

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