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Online gamer operators and players in Karnataka have been given a temporary but significant respite by the Karnataka High Court that heard out the writ petitions by the All India Gaming Federation AIGF) and Mobile Premier League (MPL) on Friday. The court directed the state Advocate-General to ensure the state police makes no further arrests under the provisos of the Karnataka Police (Amendment) Act, 2021 that criminalizes and prohibits all forms of real-money online games in the state.
The High Court’s decision comes three days after Junglee Games submitted a writ petition against the new law, becoming the sixth petitioner to challenge the law’s constitutional validity.
According to a G2G News report, the AIGF petition was listed for Friday, at item no. 42 and another by MPL as item no. 43 before a single-judge bench of Justice Krishna S. Dixit, with four similar petitions awaiting a hearing.
Senior Counsel Arvind P. Datar presented AIGF’s case before the bench, drawing upon the recent Madras High Court judgment, entry 34 of the state list, and the 276th Report of the Law Commission of India, among other legal arguments.
Hearing the matter, Justice Dixit scheduled the hearing of all six petitions challenging the online gaming ban for October 27. He also acceded to the request that no further arrests should be made basis the new law. For the same, Justice Dixit directed the state Advocate-General to ensure the same.
What the AIGF Petition Says
On Thursday, Senior Counsel Arvind P. Datar submitted AIGF’s arguments in the petition before the court. He made the following points of reference:
> The August 3 Madras High Court judgment that struck down a similar law by the Tamil Nadu government. Datar referred to the order and called the Tamil Nadu government’s ban on online gaming “excessive and disproportionate.”
> Datar also submitted that as per entry 34 of the state list, the law in question is outside the ambit of “gambling and betting,” and such states have no legislative competence to ban online skill-based games.
> The AIGF petition refers to the 276th Report on the Law Commission, arguing that online gaming regulation may come under Telecommunications and be regulated by the Union government.
> Past judgments by the Supreme Court and High Courts that acknowledge operating or playing skill-based games for profit fall as a fundamental right under Article 19 (1)(g) of the Indian constitution.
Stay tuned on PokerGuru for the latest updates on this developing story.