Friday, September 28, 2007

HC upholds ban on Sikkim lotteries

BANGALORE: The Karnataka High Court on Wednesday upheld a single judge order on the ban on lotteries in the State and also the notification declaring Karnataka a lottery-free zone.
Dismissing appeals against the single judge order of May 8, 2007, by Arunachal Pradesh, Sikkim, All India Federation of Gaming and Allied Industries and others, a Division Bench comprising Justice K. Sreedhar Rao and Justice L. Narayanaswamy agreed with the contentions of the Government that the ban is a result of a policy decision and that it was included in the Budget which was subsequently passed by both the Houses of the Legislature.
The Bench also upheld the validity of the State’s March 27, 2007, notification issued under Section 5 of the Lottery (Regulation) Act banning all kinds of lotteries and declaring Karnataka a lottery-free zone.
Citing several Supreme Court judgments, including the case of B.R. Enterprises versus the State of Uttar Pradesh, it said that many of the contentions relating to the validity of Section 5 of the Act had already been gone into in the case and that the Supreme Court had upheld its validity.
The appellants had challenged the notification and Arunachal Pradesh had said that it is a small state and its main source of revenue was organising lotteries.
It said large infrastructure had been set up in Bangalore for distributing lotteries and that it would suffer irreparable harm if an interim order staying the notification is not continued.
Appearing for the State, Advocate-General Uday Holla, said that the decision to ban lotteries was first made when the State’s Budget was presented on March 16. Subsequently, the State issued a notification under the provisions of the Lottery (Regulation) Act on the ban of lotteries.
With this, the sale of all lotteries — paper, Internet and online, had been banned.
Assailing this notification, the appellants claimed that lakhs of people, including the physically challenged, are dependent on lotteries and the ban would affect their livelihood.
They said that the notification is illegal and that it violates Articles 14, 301 and 304 of the Constitution.