The State will file a writ petition in the High Court challenging Central lottery rules, said Finance Minister T.M. Thomas Isaac.
Talking to the media after a high-level discussion at the Alappuzha Guest House on Saturday, Dr. Isaac said the High Court Single Bench's observations recently on the lottery rules had made one thing clear, that the Lottery Rules 2010 were against the Central Lottery Act, questioning the very purpose of the enactment of the Act.
The enactment was to ensure that the functioning of lotteries was strictly as per regulations and that the proceeds of the lottery were credited to the State account. Only weekly draws were permitted and there was no permission for online lotteries. However, the Lottery Rules 2010 were in contravention of these regulations, and hence the State had decided to challenge these rules in the court, the Minister said, pointing out that the Lottery Rules in effect allowed online lotteries to operate while the Act had permission only for paper lotteries. The State had pointed out these contraventions to the Centre, he said.
Reacting to Union Minister Vayalar Ravi's criticism of the State government's approach to the issue, Dr. Isaac asked Mr. Ravi why the Centre was not controlling lotteries within its power. The State was ready to support the Centre if it went ahead with amendments to the Act, and if it decided that a lottery could be run only in the State where it originated. Reasonable restrictions were welcome.
As for the High Court's observations on single-digit lotteries, the State had entrusted the police and the Tax department with the job of conducting investigations at such lottery centres. Stating that the State government would check with the Court before deciding on collecting advance tax from lotteries of other States, Dr. Isaac said the amendments suggested by Chief Minister V.S. Achuthanandan, that lottery draws should be conducted only as per Section 4 of the Act, would be incorporated in the draft ordinance that is being promulgated. “There is no difference of opinion at all on the amendments he has suggested,” Dr. Isaac said.
Advocate-General C.P. Sudhakara Prasad, Principal Secretary (Taxes) P. Mara Pandyan, Law Secretary K. Shashidharan Nair, Commercial Taxes Commissioner B. Suman and others were present.