J. Venkatesan

New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Thursday asked the Centre to consider an application sent by the Kerala government in 2004 seeking a ban on other State lotteries in Kerala on the ground that these States were violating the provisions of the Lotteries (Regulation) Act.

A three-Judge Bench of Chief Justice K.G. Balakrishnan, Justice R.M. Lodha and Justice B.S. Chauhan passed the order after senior counsel C.S. Vaidyanathan and counsel P.V. Dinesh, appearing for Kerala, submitted that several online lotteries organised by the States there had more than one draw in violation of the provisions of the Act. Mr. Vaidynathan said the Kerala government had submitted an application to the Centre in 2004 to intervene and take action and prohibit these lotteries as empowered under Section 6 of the Act, but, so far, no action had been taken.

In view of the submission, the Bench asked the Centre to consider the application and directed the matter to be listed for further hearing in the third week of April.

In its application, the State said that some of the northeastern States themselves and through their wholesalers/ distributors were blatantly violating the provisions of Section 4 of the Lotteries (Regulation) Act. It said that about 15 lakh persons in the State participating in these lotteries were being cheated every day, since the safeguards prescribed by the Act were being flouted.

It pointed out that as per the Act, no lottery was permitted to have more than one draw a week. But online lottery outlets in Kerala were holding as many as 20 to 50 draws a day. It wanted the Centre to suspend the operation of the lotteries in the State by exercising the powers vested with it as per Section 6 of the Act so that they could be brought under the regulation envisaged under the Act. The State's grievance was that the Centre had not responded to the application for the last six years.