Bombay High Court directs IT Ministry to review, act on PUBG

PIL seeks ban in Maharashtra schools; Court points to parents’ role in preventing children’s access

April 12, 2019 10:59 pm | Updated 10:59 pm IST - Mumbai

The Bombay High Court on Friday directed the Secretary, Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology, to review the content of the online game, PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds (PUBG), and issue necessary regulatory directions if it is found to be objectionable.

A Division Bench of Chief Justice Pradeep Nandrajog and N.M. Jamdar was hearing a public interest litigation (PIL) filed by Ahad Tanveer Nizam through his mother Mariam Nizam and advocate Tanveer Nizam, seeking a ban on the online game across schools in Maharashtra.

The PIL said that in 2017, PUBG, an online multiplayer game, was launched and

The PIL explained that the game has up to 100 players who parachute onto an island and scavenge for weapons and equipment to kill others while avoiding getting killed. The available safe area of the game’s map decreases in size over time, directing surviving players into tighter areas to force encounters. The last player or team standing wins the rounds.

Ban in Karnataka

The plea said the game promotes immoral conduct such as violence, murder, aggression, looting, gaming addiction, and cyber bullying. It also said PUBG was banned in responsible and progressive States of Karnataka and Gujarat lately, and sought a ban in Maharashtra too.

Government pleader Poornima Kantharia said schools could not be directed to prohibit the game as they did not allow it in the first place.

The court asked, “How can you say schools should ban the game? Schools would say they don’t allow it. If parents are permitting their children to access mobiles and play such games then what will the schools do?”

The Bench observed, “We are also parents, and the parents have to ensure that their children are kept away from the game.”

The court then directed the IT Ministry to review the game and take action against the service provider if required.

The matter was adjourned till July.

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