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Karnataka Govt Moves Apex Court To Restore Ban On Online Games

Karnataka Govt Moves Apex Court To Restore Ban On Online Games

In the special leave petition before the Supreme Court, the Karnataka government has said the state needs the law to protect people from falling for online games and losing money

In February 2022, the High Court’s division bench stated that “sections of the amendments were ultra vires of the Constitution”

On October 5 2021, the Karnataka government announced the law banning betting and wagering in online games after the state legislature passed the bill in September, last year

After several provisions of the Karnataka Police Act got revoked by the state High Court, the Karnataka government has now moved to the Supreme Court challenging the state High Court’s decision.

“We had amended the law as reports showed the use of money for betting in online games had ruined large numbers of youth and their families. We decided to place some restrictions to eliminate the use of money and responded with a law,” Karnataka Home Minister, Araga Jnanendra told ET. 

According to the media report, in February 2022, the High Court’s division bench stated that “sections of the amendments were ultra vires of the Constitution.” 

“But the court struck down the amendments. We still think our response was right as many families have said the online betting menace has destroyed them financially. That is why we decided to move the Supreme Court,” the Home Minister added.

Back in February 2022, Karnataka High Court’s division bench comprising Chief Justice Ritu Raj Awasthi, and Justice Krishna S Dixit had quashed several amendments in the state’s Police Act, 2021 to prohibit betting and wagering in online games.

The judgment was passed following several writ petitions were filed by gaming companies—Gameskraft Technologies (RummyCulture and Gamezy), Play Games24x7 (RummyCircle and My11Circle) and Head Digital Works (A23)— along with All India Gaming Federation (AIGF) that questioned the law stating games of skill were allowed but the use of money is abolished in anyform in the online games.  

Recently, in the special leave petition before the Supreme Court, the Karnataka government has said the state needs the law to protect people from falling for online games and losing money. 

In the hearing, the Karnataka government further stated that during the hearing of public interest litigation (PIL), the state High Court had asked the state government to clarify its stand on online games. Then, the state government told the high court that it had decided to amend the police act to provide for a ban on online games of chance involving money.

In the February 2022 hearing, the Karnataka high court commanded the state government to not interfere with the online gaming business and related activities of the gaming firms as the petitioners claimed that Karnataka’s law effectively curbed online games of skill too, which had been allowed by the Supreme Court.

At the end of the hearing, the Karnataka High Court left it open to the state legislature to plan a new law on betting and gambling in accordance with the Constitution.

On October 5 2021, the Karnataka government announced the law banning betting and wagering in online games after the state legislature passed the bill in September, last year. In the recent session, the legislature passed amendments to the Karnataka Police Act, 1963.

In 2021, Tamil Nadu government passed a law amending its Gaming & Police Laws Act, 2021 that prohibits online gambling. Later, the state High Court quashed the amendments for not being in accordance with the Constitution.