Yesterday, the Madras High Court issued notice to the Tamil Nadu government, and its police agencies, in a plea filed by an online gaming company implicated in the suicide of an online gamer, LiveLaw reported. Justice G. Chandrasekharan directed the Tamil Nadu government, the Chennai police, and Crime Branch-Crime Investigation Department (CB-CID) to file their counter-claims by March 14th, 2023. What happened? An online rummy player, Manikandan, died by suicide in 2022, before which he killed his wife and two children. The investigating agency sent notice to PlayGames 24x7, charging them under Section 302 of the Indian Penal Code—which prescribes punishment for murder. They also requested information on PlayGames 24x7's bank statements, turnover, and operations. Information on the games Manikandan had played and who he'd played against was also requested. Some important regional context: The Tamil Nadu government tried to ban online gambling and games of chance twice—in 2021 and 2022. This is well within the state government's prerogative to do, as states are charged with regulating gambling in India. However, both times, the bans were criticised for outlawing online skill-based games too, which have been held by various courts not to be gambling games. Gaming companies offering skill-based games (like rummy) argued that this affected their right to do business. This led to the Madras High Court striking down the 2021 ban. The 2022 attempt was reportedly stalled by the state's governor for repeating the same concerns the High Court had raised a year earlier, among other reasons. Some of these arguments…
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