Team India skipper Virat Kohli has been served a notice by the Kerala High Court following a petition seeking a ban on online rummy games. Observing that online betting was a 'grave social evil,' the High Court issued notices to Virat Kohli, actors Tamannaah Bhatia and Aju Varghese as well. Pertinently, the Team India captain is the brand ambassador of Mobile Premier League (MPL) - an e-sports platform - whereas Tamannaah Bhatia is a part of the company's advertisements.
The petition filed by Pauly Vadkkan states that online games are 'against the law' and 'difficult to control'. It also alleges that certain platforms use celebrities and their influence to attract the youth and trap them financially. The Kerala High Court has also sought the state government's stand on the matter.
HC issues notices to Kerala govt and Virat Kohli, actors Aju Varghese & Tamannaah Bhatia -- brand ambassadors of online rummy games -- on plea seeking ban on online gambling in the state— Press Trust of India (@PTI_News) January 27, 2021
Notably, in November last year, the Madras High Court had issued similar notices to Virat Kohli and BCCI chief Sourav Ganguly amongst others for promoting online fantasy league apps. In the plea filed with the Madras HC then, the petitioner had alleged that online gaming has adverse effects on children and its addiction can also slow down brain growth. Furthermore, the plea has also alleged that online gambling is 'plunging' Indians into penury and forcing people to commit suicide.
The petitioner had sought an order of interim direction to ensure that online games 'safeguard' Indian youth from unwanted cybercrime, cyberbullying and social media network. Moreover, it urged the court to order a detailed probe in the matter and consequently ban 'online games, erred groups, website and social network'.
Earlier on October 16, 2020, the Rajasthan High Court had dismissed a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) against Dream11 Fantasy Private Limited, alleging that the game being played online is nothing but 'betting' on the cricket team. On the contrary, the Gujarat High court had observed that the present legal framework regarding gambling should be regulated to include virtual/cyberspace gambling. The Bench of Chief Justice Vikram Nath and Justice JB Pardiwala had directed the Gujarat state government to consider a PIL, seeking regulation of gambling, and do the needful in 'larger public interest'.
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