‘Condition not ripe for legalising betting’

Law Commission member slams majority recommendation

July 06, 2018 01:10 am | Updated 01:10 am IST - NEW DELHI

Rupee money phone concept illustration of mobile cell phone with gold Rupee sign and coins. Vector file is eps 10 and uses transparency blends

Rupee money phone concept illustration of mobile cell phone with gold Rupee sign and coins. Vector file is eps 10 and uses transparency blends

In a scathing dissent, Law Commission of India member S. Sivakumar slammed the recommendation made by the majority led by former Supreme Court judge, Justice B.S. Chauhan, to “legalise” gambling in sports.

Mr. Sivakumar said the Commission did not even bother to consider the “socio-economic” conditions in the country before making such a recommendation. Neither did the Justice R.M. Lodha Committee in its report to the Supreme Court, based on which the reference was made to the Law Commission by the court in 2016 in its BCCI judgment.

‘Still a social stigma’

“Socio-economic and cultural circumstances of the country are not pragmatic to accept legalised gambling activities as it is still treated as a social stigma… The policy of the government in general is to disallow betting and gambling. I apprehend that the recommendation of the Commission may lead to an unhealthy and unwarranted discussion,” Mr. Sivakumar wrote in his separate note to the government on Thursday.

He said to “save the future generations from treading unethical paths, I am of the opinion that no form of gambling can be permitted from the soil of the country... the present condition in the country is not ripe for legalising betting in sports.”

Mr. Sivakumar said the Commission’s report comes at a time when there is a vested interest in getting gambling legalised in the country. This would favour the amassing of money clandestinely by a handful of game operators.

The member criticised the Commission for suo motu examining the issue of legalising gambling. He said the Supreme Court had only asked the Commission to examine the limited question of legalising betting in cricket and not “sports” in a general manner.

“Issue of gambling has never been a subject of reference to the Commission. Commission has not been taking any subject of study suo motu and I feel the practice should be continued,” Mr. Sivakumar wrote.

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