On Friday, the Supreme Court in the case the State Of Tamil Nadu And Ors. v. Junglee Games India Private Limited And Anr., the bench comprising of Justice Aniruddha Bose and Justice Vikram Nath observed and issued notice on the plea filed challenging the judgment of the Madras High Court for striking down the ban on online games such as rummy and poker.
The State of Tamil Nadu filled the petition assailing the judgment passed by the High Court of Madras on 3rd August of 2021 by which the High Court had to struck down the Tamil Nadu Gaming & Police Laws (Amendment) Act of 2021. Thus, the act had imposed a ban on games like rummy and poker played on the internet with real stakes
It was observed by the High Court that betting in its original sense cannot be differentiated from gambling since the element of risk taking is betting. Further, the Court opined that the Gambling and gaming have developed secondary meanings in judicial parlance. However, such words had attained such connotations in the pre constitutional era that nomen juris cannot be shrugged off to understand such words to mean or imply anything other than how they have been judicially interpreted. Irrespective of the fact that what meanings are ascribed to these words in dictionaries, gambling is equated with gaming and the activity involves chance to such a predominant extent that the element of skill that may also be involved cannot control the desired outcome.
While striking down the amended Act of 1930, the Madras High Court bench led by Chief Justice Sanjib Banerjee observed that the legislation assailed herein has to be regarded as something done by the legislature capriciously, irrationally and without adequately determining the principle such that it is excessive and disproportionate, as when a game of skill involves betting and wagering as given under Section 3(b) of the Act and the same becomes an offence.
It was observed by the court that Despite no offence under Section 4(1) of the Act of 1930 being made out for playing or participating in a game of skill, if any wagering and betting– within the meaning of such expression as indicated in the Explanation to Section 3(b) of the Act – is involved in a game of skill and by virtue of Sections 8 and 9 of the Act an offence is made out of the same activity. Thus, as a result of which a simple game of football or volleyball played for bragging rights between two teams or a tournament which awards any cash prize or even a trophy, would, by the legal fiction created by the definition, amounting to gaming and thereby outlawed.