States should act on gambling, betting websites because these matter are governed only under state laws : Centre tells Delhi High Court

The issues related to gambling expressly fall under the states’ domain, and thereby, only the state government is responsible for taking action against online gambling websites, the Centre informed the Delhi High Court earlier this week.

The Division Bench comprising Chief Justice D.N. Patel and Justice Jyoti Singh was hearing a PIL seeking a ban on websites involved in gambling and betting in the country.

The PIL was filed by one Avinash Mehrotra, a Chartered Accountant and social activist, through Advocates Prashant Kumar, Siddhartha Iyer, Saurabh Suman Sinha and Awantika Manohar.

The petition has contended that despite there being enacted state legislations prohibiting gambling, a large number of websites can be accessed in the territory of India that provides for gambling. 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.

In addition to a ban on such websites, the plea also prays for recovery of taxes due from the persons who played such online gambling and from those who operate these websites; as also a direction to prosecute the proprietors, and the promoters of the online gambling websites, in accordance with law.

The Bench has listed the matter for further hearing on October 11.

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