Madras HC reverses ban on rummy, poker in TN; state govt to bring new law

PILs were filed by Junglee Games India Private Limited and others against the ban

e4m by exchange4media Staff
Updated: Aug 4, 2021 6:01 PM

The Madras High Court has set aside Tamil Nadu government's decision to ban online rummy and poker games in the state. The government had recently amended the Tamil Nadu Gaming Act 1930 to online betting games.

The division bench of Chief Justice Sanjib Banerjee and Justice Senthilkumar Ramamoorthy allowed a batch of PILs from Junglee Games India Private Limited and others against the ban.

The Part II of the TN Gaming & Police Laws (Amendment) Act, 2021, which banned betting or wagering in cyberspace and also games of skill if played for a wager, bet, money or other stakes was declared invalid by the bench.

By imposing a wide-ranging complete ban, the bench said that the least intrusive test was violated, and the ban had thereby fallen foul of Article 19(1)(g) of the Constitution (right to practise any profession, or to carry on any occupation, trade or business).

The bench has granted liberty to the state government to pass another legislation which conforms to the Constitutional principles of propriety.

Meanwhile, Tamil Nadu Law Minister S Ragupathy said that the government will pass a new legislation to ban the games in the state. “Following the demand of DMK president and Chief Minister M K Stalin, the then ruling AIADMK government urgently enacted an amendment to the Act on November 21, 2020 to ban the online rummy game," he said in a statement.

He added, “Although the government puts forth its views on the ban of online games, the High Court had said that the government did not specify enough reasons when the law was made and without formalising the rules, online gaming can’t be banned.”

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