6 Jul 2019 Jonas Lemberg

Online rummy companies file review petition in Kerala HC, matter to be listed on 19th July

Kerala HC

At least three online rummy companies, including Play Games 24×7 Private Limited (RummyCircle), Head Digital Works Private Limited (Ace2Three) and Junglee Games India Private Limited (Junglee Rummy) have filed review petitions in the Kerala High Court seeking reconsideration of the January 2019 order of a division bench of the court which held that playing the game of rummy for stakes or wagering on it is not just an innocent pastime but amounts to the offence of gaming under the Kerala Gaming Act, 1960.

The review petitions filed by the online rummy companies came up before a division bench of the Kerala High Court comprising of Justices AM Shaffique and N. Anil Kumar yesterday. The court however, adjourned the petition for two weeks and has now listed the matter for hearing on 19th July, 2019.

As noted by Glaws in its analysis in an exclusive article on 28th February, 2019, the Kerala High Court seems to have made an apparent error in its judgment by overlooking a 1976 state government notification that clearly exempts six games including rummy from the ambit of the Kerala Gaming Act, subject only to the condition that side-betting is not permitted on such games.

The Kerala High Court probably guided by erroneous submissions by the counsels appearing in the case, in fact, stated in its judgment that no such notification exempting certain skill games under Section 14A of the Kerala Gaming Act existed.

According to the available court records, in the earlier hearings of the review petition filed by Play 24×7 Games, the court had asked the Additional Advocate General to get instructions from the state government on the matter.

It remains to be seen whether the Kerala High Court modifies or revises its January 2019 order based on the 1976 notification and other precedents regarding rummy being a game of skill and allowed for stakes being brought to its notice.

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