Online gaming

HC repeals law banning online gambling

Govt. prevented from interfering with the online gaming and related activities of the petitioners

Govt. prevented from interfering with the online gaming and related activities of the petitioners

To relieve online gambling operators and players, the Karnataka High Court on Monday declared unconstitutional certain provisions of the Karnataka Police (Amendment) Act 2021, which prohibited and criminalized the activities of offering and gambling. to online games, risking money or otherwise.

“The provisions of Sections 2, 3, 6, 8 and 9 of the Karnataka Police (Amendment) Act 2021 are declared ultra vires of the Constitution of India in their entirety and hence are struck down,” the court said.

A divisional bench, consisting of Chief Justice Ritu Raj Awasthi and Justice Krishna S. Dixit, delivered the verdict while allowing petitions filed by gaming operator associations, such as the Online Gaming Federation, the Indian Fantasy Sports Federation and a few people online. game lovers.

“Of a very excessive nature”

The bench also prevented the government from interfering with the online gambling and related activities of the claimants while specifying that nothing in this judgment should be interpreted as preventing the adoption of appropriate legislation on “betting and games of chance” in accordance with the provisions of the Constitution.

These games are rummy, carrom, chess, billiards, bridge, crosswords, scrabble, and fantasy sports such as crickets.

“In the considered opinion of this court, the impugned legislative action which imposed an absolute embargo on all games of skill defies the principle of proportionality and is excessive in nature and therefore violates section 14 of the Constitution on the ground of manifest arbitrariness,” the bench said.

They also observed that “where a law is obscure or admits plural meanings with little choice for an ordinary citizen, there is absolute inflexibility of the language used. They operate as statutes of violence against sensible citizens since they do not allow them to live safely under the rule of law.

The bench also said that “the Amendment Act suffers from such an infirmity inasmuch as Section 2(7) which encompasses all games irrespective of jurisdiction involved makes the taxation provisions of the main law so vague that men of common understanding will not be able to divine its true meaning and differ as to the scope of its application and, therefore, is liable to be set aside.