Kerala

Kerala HC sets aside govt ban on online rummy

The online rummy industry is expected to grow at 25% and reach $0.5 billion by 2022.  

Kerala High Court on Monday sets aside the State government action in banning online rummy played for stakes by including it in the Kerala Gaming Act, 1960.

Justice T.R. Ravi passed the verdict while allowing a few writ petitions filed by the companies engaged in the business of developing and offering online games, challenging the notification that included the game in the purview of the Kerala Gaming Act.

The petitioners contended that the notification issued in 1976 had exempted Rummy from the provisions of the Kerala Gaming Act. However, the government by notification issued on February 23, 2021, had brought "Online Rummy played for stakes" under the Act. The government action amounted to a violation of their fundamental right to do business and therefore it was arbitrary and unreasonable.

The court declared the notification as arbitrary, illegal, and in violation of Articles 14 and 19(1)(g) of the Constitution of India, since, according to the court, the notification had been issued in relation to a game that already stood exempted from the provisions of the Act under Section 14 of the Kerala Gaming Act and since the game did not come within the meaning of 'gambling' or 'gaming', by providing a platform for playing the game.

The court declared that online rummy played either with stakes or without stakes remained to be a 'game of skill' and a game involving skill predominantly stood exempted from the Act.

The State government submitted that online rummy was not a game predominantly of skill and there was an element of cheating involved and even the deal of cards was manipulated. Besides, the State government had the power to bring the game under the Act.


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Printable version | Oct 19, 2021 12:00:03 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/kerala/kerala-hc-sets-aside-govt-ban-on-online-rummy/article36694173.ece

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