Delhi HC issues notice on PIL seeking ban on gambling websites

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    The Delhi High Court today issued notice in a petition seeking a direction to ban and prohibit all gambling, betting, wagering websites (Avinash Mehrotra v. Union of India).

    A Division Bench of Chief Justice DN Patel and Justice Prateek Jalan sought a response from the Central government, as well as the Delhi government, in a public interest litigation preferred by one Avinash Mehrotra.

    Some of these websites listed by the petitioner include Dream11, My11circle, PaytmFirstGames etc.

    Avinash Mehrotra stated that, “Gambling, i.e. wagering on games of chance is per se illegal, according to the laws of our country, and most state legislations have expressly forbidden the same.”

    He also seeks a direction to the Centre to recover taxes due from persons running and indulging in online gambling. Action is also sought against “unscrupulous” owners, proprietors and promoters of the online gambling websites.

    The petition has also contended that despite the presence of provisions like Delhi Public Gambling Act, 1955, a large number of websites can be accessed in the territory of India, through appropriate devices and a person is free to gamble with cards, or bet on the outcome of sport results, etc.

    The petitioner further challenges the Centre’s response to his representation that in spite of the powers under Sections 67, 69 and 69A of the Information Technology Act, 2000, it did not have the legislative competence to deal with the prayer to ban or block such online gambling websites.

    The plea has raised questions over the lack of enforcement of the law as these activities are being carried out, despite being expressly prohibited by law.

    The bench has listed the matter for further hearing on January 29.