Delhi HC issued notice to Delhi Police and Centre Govt on Plea seeking ban on online gambling

Dec14,2020 #Delhi High Court

Shweta Tambade

Delhi High Court sought the response of the Centre and the Delhi Police on a plea seeking directions to ban/ prohibit gambling, betting, wagering and gaming websites.

A bench of Chief Justice DN Patel and Justice Prateek Jalan issued noticed to the Ministry of Finance and Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology that gambling is illegal and forbidden by law.

The petition by Chartered Accountant Avinash Mehrotra has argued that gambling is illegal according to the laws of the country and most state legislations have expressly forbidden the same.

Advocate Awantika Manohar, filed the Public Interest Litigation (PIL), said that despite various provisions enacted by various states, prohibiting such activities, a large number of websites providing gambling, betting and wagering games are still accessible in India.

The petitioner, also represented by Advocates Siddharth Iyer and Prashant Kumar, said that

Online gambling is a far worse evil than regular gambling” as the ease of access makes it easy for anyone to gamble their life savings away.”

It is also submitted that the unregulated online gambling system in India today, is potentially a great place for carrying out hawala operations, laundering money, etc.

It is submitted that Foreign Exchange laws, as well as Income Tax laws, are also likely being violated today by the online gambling websites,” the plea said.

He has also sought a direction to the Centre to ‘prosecute the unscrupulous owners/proprietors, and the promoters of the online gambling websites, in accordance with law’.

Last year too, Mehrotra had moved a similar petition which was disposed with a direction to the Centre to handle it as a representation and take decision in accordance with law.

An order issued on October 21 by the Centre had stated that it does not have the capacity to block gambling and betting websites in India. The petition has therefore sought to quashing of the order.

It was also put forward that the Internet Technology Act vests power to the Centre with respect to the internet. Though most state governments have held that betting and gambling activities are illegal, it still continues for the lack of appropriate directions.

The matter would be now heard on January 29, 2021.

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