A handful of companies, PlayGames 24X7, Junglee Games, Head Digital Works and Gameskraft, last week moved the Kerala High Court challenging the state government's ban on online rummy involving stakes. While the companies had sought interim relief seeking a stay on the notification, the court denied this and instead scheduled the next hearing for May 20. LiveLaw first reported the order. PlayGames24X7 operates RummyCircle, Junglee Games operates Junglee Rummy, Head Digital Works operates rummy game A23, and Gameskraft runs RummyCulture. In the hearing last week, the companies argue that the Kerala government's ban, by exercising its powers under Section 14A of the Kerala Gaming Act, 1960, is ultra vires (beyond the scope of the law) as it tries to regulate the online space when the law only permits the government to regulate the physically played rummy. Senior counsel Mukul Rohatgi, appearing for the companies, cited the Supreme Court judgment in K. Satyanarayana, in which it declared that rummy is "mainly and preponderantly" a game of skill and not of chance. Santosh Mathew, appearing for Gameskraft Technologies Pvt. Ltd., said that the removal of exemption for online rummy cannot be done via a government notification, and that an amendment to the law is necessary. The companies contended that since the notification effectively seeks to ban businesses offering the game of online rummy, which is a business protected under Article 19(1)(g) of the Constitution. State Attorney KV Sohan said that playing online rummy for stakes is covered by the Kerala High Court 2019…
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