Following division bench’s order to strike down several provisions of Karnataka Police (Amendment) Act, 2021, the FIR filed against Dream11 co-founders Harsh Jain and Bhavit Sheth for violating this act, has also been quashed by the Karnataka High Court citing.
After the notification of Karnataka Police (Amendment) Act, 2021 on October 5, 2021 (which banned operation of games of chance and skill which involved money), Dream11 had continued its operations in the State. This led to an FIR was filed against the company co-founders in Bengaluru for violating the state law.
Karnataka HC strikes down state’s prohibition on online gaming involving moneyIndustry hails verdict, terms it a step in the right direction
However, the law was later challenged in the High Court by multiple petitioners including All Indian Gaming Federation (AIGF), Mobile Premier League, Games24x7, Gameskraft, Head Digital Works Private Limited, Federation of Indian Fantasy Sports (FIFS) and Junglee Games. Eventually in February, the Karnataka High Court struck down the State’s amendments to the Karnataka Police Act, 2021, which had barred and criminalised betting on playing games of chance and skill which involved money.
The bench also declared the law notified by the State government on October 5, 2021, as unconstitutional. While the court declared the provisions as ‘ultra vires of the constitution’, it clarified that the entire act is not struck down, but only the specific amended provisions.
Senior Advocate Gopal Jain commenting on this development, said, “Several High Courts are gradually but steadily recognising the distinction between Fantasy Sports and games of chance, gambling, betting and wagering. The FIR registered by Karnataka Police against Dream11 founders was quashed in court today, signalling another positive step toward deeming India’s sunshine sector legal. Such moves will enable more investment in the Fantasy Sports industry, which has already extensively contributed to creating a deeper engagement with sports.”
The Supreme Court had already taken a similar position in August 2021. It dismissed an appeal against a Rajasthan High Court decision and stated that Fantasy Sports platforms involve skill and do not account to gambling.