The Indian government asserted that it has the legislative competence to regulate online gaming in a challenge against rules it brought to regulate the sector filed at the Delhi High Court, CNBC-TV18 reported.
The government argued that it has constitutional powers to regulate online gaming, citing entry 31 of the Union List (which empowers it to regulate posts and telegraphs; telephones, wireless, broadcasting and other like forms of communication), and Entry 97 (residual matters not mentioned in the state or concurrent lists). The Indian government had argued along similar lines during the parliamentary debates over its competence to regulate the sector as well. Back then, it mentioned entry 42, or matters of “inter-State trade and commerce.”
In its challenge filed earlier this year, the Uttar Pradesh-based NGO Social Organization for Creating Humanity (SOCH) argued that the Indian government’s recently enacted rules to regulate online skill gaming were unconstitutional. Among other points, they suggested that the Centre had usurped state governments’ ‘jurisdiction’ to regulate the sector, and that the rules’ framework would drain the public exchequer.
The Centre went on to question SOCH’s “standing” to challenge the gaming rules—for example, the NGO hadn’t participated in the government-led ‘public‘ consultations ahead of their drafting. In its counter affidavit, the Centre described the challenge as “proxy litigation”. As separately reported earlier, SOCH’s challenge followed in the well-heeled footsteps of critiques of the rules.
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