The Madras High Court declined to grant an interim stay on the ordinance promulgated by the Tamil Nadu government, to ban online games and gambling, including online rummy. The ordinance was issued owing to many suicides in the states due to losses incurred in such games.
The Bench of Justices comprising R Subbiah and C Saravanan have posted a hearing of the matter on January 18th, as the State seeked some time to file a counter-affidavit. Advocate General Vijay Naryan, appearing for the State, urged the Bench to adjourn the matter till after Pongal.
Recently, the court also declined the stay on the ordinance on a petition filed by the online gaming platform Junglee. The State filed its counter on the matter on Monday.
Naryan argued that the interim stay on the Ordinance will have little effect on the petitioner’s (Junglee) operations, as only the states of Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh have banned online rummy.
He even argued that children are playing such games using their parents’ credit cards.
The Advocate General also noted that the government might bring a new Act against online gaming in the next Legislative Assembly session, which may have a different format than the current ordinance. Therefore, he urged the government to post the matter on January 18th.
On Monday, Gameskraft Technologies also joined in to challenge the ordinance, in relation to online rummy, stating that Section 3A of the Tamil Nadu Gaming Act, 1930 and Section 11 of the Act cannot coexist, and hence Section 3A must exclude a ban on online rummy.
Section 11 of the Act states that the provisions of the Act would not apply to games of skills.
Senior Advocate Mohan Parasaran, appearing for Gameskraft argued that it is already settled that online rummy is a game of skill as per the Supreme Court in State of Andhra Pradesh v. K Satyanarayana and ors.
Senior Advocate Mukul Rohatgi, appearing for Junglee, argued that the petitioners seek an early resolution of the matter. He also added that they can establish that online rummy is safer than the game played in other channels. He argued that online rummy doesn’t become a game of chance just because children are playing it.
"Our business is impacted. The question is whether it is legitimate or not legitimate. According to us, it (online rummy) was wrongly stopped, they had no jurisdiction. if they want it after two weeks, let it continue in the meantime", Rohatgi argued, as per a report in Bar and Bench.
Junglee also argued that prohibition of games of skills will lead to illegal websites mushrooming in the State, which will defeat the purpose of the Ordinance. “Instead, regulation of the games of skill including rummy is the need of the hour rather than a complete prohibition", Junglee had submitted in its plea.