PIL seeks ban on online gambling sites: HC seeks Centre, AAP govt stand

The plea said despite there being laws enacted by various states prohibiting such activities, a large number of websites providing gambling, betting and wagering games are still accessible in India.
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The Delhi High Court on Monday sought response of the Centre and AAP government on a PIL seeking directions to them to take steps to ban websites involved in gambling, betting, and wagering.

A bench of Chief Justice D N Patel and Justice Prateek Jalan issued notice to the ministries of Finance and Electronics and Information Technology as well as the Delhi government seeking their stand.

The plea said despite there being laws enacted by various states prohibiting such activities, a large number of websites providing gambling, betting and wagering games are still accessible in India.

The petitioner, Avinash Mehrotra, has contended in his plea that "all these activities, though expressly prohibited by law, are being carried out because of a lack of enforcement of the laws in question".

Mehrotra, who claims to offer financial advisory services, has also said in his petition that the online gambling system in India is unregulated and its "a great place for carrying out hawala operations, laundering money, etc".

"In fact, it is submitted that Foreign Exchange laws, as well as Income Tax laws, are also likely being violated today by the online gambling websites," the petition has alleged.

It has further said that he had last year moved a similar petition which was disposed of with a direction to the Centre to treat it as a representation and take a decision in accordance with the law.

Subsequently, he was informed by the central government that it did not have the legislative competence to deal with his representation to ban or block websites, his latest plea claims.

Besides a ban on these websites, he has sought recovery of taxes due from persons who played on these sites and those who operate them.

He has also sought a direction to the Centre to 'prosecute the unscrupulous owners/proprietors, and the promoters of the online gambling websites, in accordance with law".

The court listed the matter for further hearing on January 29, 2021.

Edited by Saheli Sen Gupta

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