The Delhi High Court on October 8, 2020 directed the Union of India and Delhi government to treat the petition filed against online gambling as a representation and also directed to decide the grievances rose in the petition.
The two-judge bench of Chief Justice D N Patil and Justice Prateek Jalan directed the respondents i.e. Union of India and Delhi High Court to decide the representation according to the rules, laws, regulations, and government policies which is applicable to the facts of the case, as early as possible and practicable.
Petition in the nature of public interest litigation was moved by Tarun Chandiok with the following prayers in his petition: -
“A. issue direction, order or writ including a writ in the nature of mandamus against the Respondents thereby, enjoining them to interdict access of internet content involving website and mobile application facilitating prescribed gaming in the name of online fantasy gaming or skill monetization or the game of skill, within the meaning of Public Gambling Act, 1867 and the Delhi Public Gambling Act, 1955; and
B. issue a direction, order or writ, including a writ in the nature of mandamus against the Respondents thereby directing them to restrain broadcaster, television channels, radio, internet company, etc. from running advertisement, campaigns, endorsements, promotional features, apropos of such illegally run gaming website and /or mobile application insofar as it opens the provision of Public Gambling Act, 1867 and Delhi Public Gambling Act, 1955; and
C. issue direction, order or writ including a writ in the nature of mandamus against the Respondents thereby directing them to initiate opposite panel action consistent with offences in which such offence envisaged under the provisions of the Public Gambling Act, 1867 to and Delhi Public Gambling Act, 1955 against the offenders;
D. issue order, direction or writ including a writ in the nature of mandamus against the Respondents thereby, directing them to formulate a policy and constitutes a Gaming Commission as much in order to comprehensively regulate and it was the grievances of the online player as to get the interest of minor children and impressionable youth up to a certain age from the long shadows engagement is well known to cast.”
The Court heard both the sides and looking into facts and circumstances of the case and also considering the fact that earlier also we have disposed of a petition of a similar nature that is WP(C) No.5661/2019 vide order dated November 28, 2019, we hereby directed the respondents to treat this petition as a representation and decide the grievances ventilated In this petition, as narrated in detail in the writ petition.
According to a report by the Press Trust of India petitioner submitted before the Court that the presentation was made to the Centre and Delhi Government in September and the latter was responded by saying that the matter had been forwarded to Delhi Transport Minister Kailash Gahlot who also holds the Information and Technology portfolio. It was submitted that no information was received.
Some of the most used Mobile gaming apps which facilitate online gambling which is referred to in the petition are Adda52 Poker, PokerStars, Zynga Poker, Teen Patti Gold, Poker Rummy, and Texas Hold'em Poker.
The petitioner had contended that these are the games of chance and probability and involve no skills and hence it should be prohibited in accordance with the anti-gambling laws. Henceforth, the Bench observes that “There is some amount of skills involved in every game".
On October 13, 2020, the Gujarat High Court has observed that the present legal framework in reference to gambling should be regulated to include virtual /online /cyberspace gambling. The observations were made by a two-judge bench of Chief Justice Vikram Nath and Justice JB Pardiwala. The bench observes that "We direct the State of Gujarat to consider this writ application as representation. If the online games involve gambling and if they are being played in the State of Gujarat then it is expected of the State to deal with the same appropriately as gambling is a subject matter of List II of Schedule VII of Constitution of India, 1950".