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The Telangana government has filed a transfer petition before the Supreme Court, seeking that the long-pending constitutional challenge filed by gaming operators against the state`s online gaming ban be heard by the Apex Court. Senior counsel Harin Raval, representing the government, revealed this during the hearing of the appeal petition in the Telangana High Court on December 5.
A two-judge bench of Chief Justice Ujjal Bhuyan and Justice CV Bhaskar Reddy heard the state’s submissions in context to the constitutional challenge made to the Telangana Gaming Amendment Act, 2017.
The state`s counsel informed the court that they have filed the transfer petition in the Apex Court and asked the petition be tagged along with petitions of the Tamil Nadu and Karnataka governments that have challenged orders of the Madras and Karnataka High Courts that struck down their state-imposed gambling bans.
Telangana passed legislation banning all forms of real-money online gaming in 2017, becoming the first South Indian state to do so. In June 2017, three rummy operators, Head Infotech Pvt. Ltd. (Ace2Three), Play Games24x7 Pvt. Ltd. (Rummycircle), and Junglee Games Pvt. Ltd. (Junglee Rummy), filed writ petitions in the Andhra Pradesh and Telangana High Court, challenging the constitutional validity of the ban.
On December 2, a Supreme Court bench of Justices Aniruddha Bose and Sudanshu Dhulia issued a notice concerning the transfer petition filed by the Telangana government. The Telangana High Court accepted the state government’s submission basis of the notice, ruling that it will not take up the matter until the Supreme Court decides on the transfer petition.
Representing the petitioners, senior counsel CV Mohan Reddy sought that the matter be taken up at least for interim relief. Reddy pointed out that the Karnataka and Madras High Courts have struck down similar gaming bans, but the operators are currently unable to do business in Telangana.
The bench indicated that it may consider the matter for making an order on interim relief on January 31, 2023, if there is no progress on the transfer petition in the Supreme Court. The Supreme Court will tentatively hear the transfer petition on January 20, 2023.
In September, the Supreme Court bench of Justices Abdul Nazeer and V. Ramasubramanian issued a notice on the Karnataka government’s appeal against the High Court’s order that quashed the Karnataka Police (Amendment) Act, 2021, calling it unconstitutional.
Around the same time, another bench of the Supreme Court issued a notice in the Tamil Nadu government’s appeal against the August 2021 decision of the Madras High Court that struck down the state’s similar legislation to ban online gaming.
Given the similar nature of the petitions, all three appeals will likely be tagged and heard together. A decisive decision iby the Apex Court will set a precedent for any future bans on online gaming in the country and could very well decide the gaming industry’s future.
This is a developing story. Keep following PokerGuru for all the updates!