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SC to Hear Plea Against Order Banning Meghalaya & Sikkim State-run Lotteries in Other State

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Priya Gour

Published on: 18th August, 2022 at 18:49 IST

Recently, the State Governments of Meghalaya and Sikkim filed a plea in the Supreme Court against the decision by other states to ban their lotteries in them.

The plea cited Section 5 of the Lotteries (Regulation) Act 1998, according to which the Central Government authorised State Governments to prohibit the sale of tickets for a lottery conducted by other states.

The Meghalaya cited that regulation of lotteries organised by other states was not a state subject and is in the Centre’s domain, so the state should be granted a permit in this regard.

Meghalaya government counsel submitted that the Act itself provides for what are “state organised lotteries” and what are “state authorised lotteries“. So far as state authorised lotteries are concerned, certainly, the question of federalism won’t come in, but when the state itself is organising (lottery), then the question of federalism arises.”

The Court had earlier opined that restrictions on privately operated lotteries are understandable since there may be concerns about the transparency of draws, but state-run lotteries may not be subject to the same restrictions because of the legitimacy that comes with being controlled by the government.

CJI Ramana had said, “Can a state in a federal system forbid the trading of goods, in this case, lottery tickets, from another state within its borders? Let the Centre be clear about its position.

In the case of B.R. Enterprises v. State of U.P., it was said that lotteries are gambling; gambling is commercial; it is looked upon with suspicion. Article 301, which states that there will be freedom of trade and commerce in this country, is being contravened.

The State’s counsel requested the bench to list the matter for an urgent hearing. They cited the ban as affecting their fiscal situation, as they were falling short of funds and were “crying for revenue.”

Therefore, the Bench consisted of the Chief Justice of India NV Ramana, Justice JK Maheshwari and Justice Hima Kohli has listed the matter to be heard next week.