The Delhi High Court has issued notices to the Central Government and the Delhi Government regarding a petition to regulate online gambling by setting up a regulatory body to distinguish between a game of skill and a game of chance and to decide what is permitted by law.
A dividing bench of Acting Chief Justice Vipin Sanghi and Judge Sachin Datta while issuing an opinion, also requested the petitioner to implicate the Delhi government as a defendant, since gambling is a subject of state under entry 34 of schedule II of schedule VII of the Constitution Indian.
The case was scheduled for hearing on November 16, along with another brief motion 9436/2020, raising similar issues.
The instant petition was filed by attorney Atul Batra in the public interest, seeking an order of mandamus to take the necessary steps to formulate a regulatory body, as recommended by the Law Commission, to regulate online gambling and a mandamus order to stop the games. that are not games of skill (as permitted by law).
The Ministry of the Interior, the Ministry of IT and the Ministry of Sports are named as defendants in the case.
According to the petitioner, despite the recommendation of the Law Commission in its report entitled “Legal framework: gambling and sports betting, including cricket in India”, several online wagering games revolve in the name of skill. It asks for instructions from the competent authorities to regulate online gambling rules and set up a regulator to pre-approve online gambling with a grievance mechanism.
He also demanded appropriate action against Cricket Millionaire Pvt. Ltd., which would manage games of chance by organizing games, namely Cricket Millionaire, Overs Game, Fantasy Games and Sport the Cricket Ball, games of chance.
It further mentions that if the relief is granted as requested, it will help: (a) students who have free access to computers/mobiles and internet connectivity; (b) betting addicts; and (c) students.
During the hearing, attorney Vaibhav Gaggar, representing the Center, informed the Court that the relevant ministries were deliberating on the matter. However, betting and gambling being subjects of the State, the Center cannot legislate on this aspect without the agreement of the State. He added that the Information Technology Act does not address the concerns of online gambling and that in other states as well the issue has been determined by the judiciary itself.
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Case Title: Atul Batra v. Indian Union
(Contributed by Akshita Saxena)
Click here to download the order