Delhi Court Seeks Centre’s Stand in PIL to Ban Gambling Websites

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The Delhi High Court has issued notice to the Central government on a public suit seeking direction to take steps to ban and prevent online gambling websites from operating in the country.

A division bench of Chief Justice DN Patel and Justice Prateek Jalan asked the Centre and the Delhi government to file reply on the public interest litigation seeking direction from the Ministry of Information Technology to exercise its powers under sections of the Information Technology Act, 2000, to prevent online gambling websites.

The PIL, filed by one Avinash Mehrotra represented through advocates Awantika Manohar, Siddharth Iyer and Prashant Kumar, sought directions to the Ministry of Finance to take steps to recover taxes due from both persons who played such online gambling, and more importantly, those who run and operate these websites.

It also sought an appropriate writ, order or direction, directing the respondents to prosecute the unscrupulous owners/proprietors, and the promoters of the online gambling websites, in accordance with the law.

The plea submitted that gambling or 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. It sought the quashing of the order dated 21 October 2020, issued by the Union of India, stating that it does not have the competence to block gambling and betting websites in India.

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