High Court adjourns further hearing to November 12
The Kerala High Court on Wednesday declined to stay the Kerala Tax on Paper Lotteries (Amendment) Ordinance.
The ordinance envisages increasing the tax on paper lotteries and laying down new stipulations for selling lotteries of other States in Kerala.
When a writ petition filed by Megha Distributor, promoter of the Bhutan Lotteries, challenging the ordinance came up for hearing before Justice C.K. Abdul Rehim, Altaf Ahamed, senior Supreme Court lawyer for the promoter, argued that the government did not have any powers to promulgate such an ordinance.
The Central government alone had the power to make any regulations on the conduct of lotteries. The counsel made a strong plea to stay the ordinance.
Opposing the plea of the promoter, Supreme Court lawyer and State government counsel Nideesh Gupta submitted that the State government was competent to issue such an ordinance.
In an affidavit, the State government said that even if there was a bilateral agreement or trade between the Government of India and the Royal Government of Bhutan, all those who were acting as per the agreement or treaties were bound to follow the provisions of the Central and State Acts and Rules.
The lotteries were run by the Royal Government of Bhutan.
Therefore, the petitioner had no right to challenge the law on behalf of the Bhutan Government. According to the affidavit, the provisions in the ordinance were not intended to restrain other States from selling their lotteries in Kerala. The ordinance was issued in accorda- nce with Section 4 of the Lotteries Regulation Act.
There was no illegality in making provisions in the ordinance to ensure compliance with the Central Act and Rules. The ordinance mandated that the authorities empowered to collect tax should verify and satisfy themselves that the provisions of the Act and Rules were strictly complied with.
In fact, it was the duty of the State government to ensure that all the provisions of the laws were strictly implemented.
The affidavit pointed out that the government had brought to the notice of the Central government various illegalities committed by the promoter of the Bhutan Lotteries. The Central government was yet to act on the complaints of the State government.
The court adjourned to November 12 further hearing on the petition.