On February 14, 2022, Karnataka High Court struck down provisions of Karnataka Police (Amendment) Act, 2021, that had banned online games.

Key Data

  • The division bench was headed by Chief Justice Ritu Raj Awasthi and Justice KrishnaS. Dixit.
  • According to the bench,‘Karnataka Act number28/2021 to the extent the provisions ultra vires the constitution, still not the entire Act.
  • This judgment was interpreted for precluding an applicable legislation concerning the subject like betting and gambling in line with the provisions of constitution.
  • A writ of mandamus was issued to restrain the respondents from snooping with online gaming business and confederated conditioning of the petitioners.
Karnataka Police (Amendment) Bill, 2021
  •  The law includes all forms of betting or wagering in connection with any game of chance, except horse racing. Still, this law was opposed by online gaming companies, stating that this policy would affect the prospectus of Karnataka, which is emerging as online gaming companies’ capital.
  • The Act banned all formats of online games including wagering, laying and gambling of all nature in the state.
  • Under it, online gaming was considered anon-bailable offence. It provides for a forfeiture of Rs 1 lakh and imprisonment of up to three years.
  • Apart from banning games of skills, government categorised online games using electronic means, virtual currency and electronic transfer of finances associated with any game as gambling.

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