Supreme Court upholds Kerala govt’s decision to ban online lotteries

Thursday, Nov 5, 2015,20:59 IST By metrovaartha A A A

New Delhi | The Supreme Court today upheld the decision of Kerala government to prohibit sale of online lottery tickets, saying the state was well within its legislative competence to regulate such lotteries. We are of the considered opinion that State of Kerala was well within its rights to prohibit the sale of online or internet lotteries in its State and there is no fault in it.
It is well within the powers conferred on it under Section 5 of the Act, a bench headed by Chief Justice H L Dattu said. The apex court said a state government can organize, conduct or promote a lottery and it would be within the legislative power complying with the provisions of the Act made by the Parliament.
Noting that lottery was a form of gambling, the court said it was an evil which was considered vice by all civilised societies. It is common case that lottery is a species of gambling. Gambling is considered as a pernicious vice by all civilised societies from time immemorial. The Rigvedas, Smritis and Arthashastras have condemned gambling as a vice. Several Judges and learned authors are unanimous in their condemnation of gambling.
Experience has shown that the common forms of gambling are comparatively innocuous when placed in contrast with widespread pestilence of lotteries. The former are confined to a few persons and places, but the latter infests the whole community; it enters every dwelling; it reaches every class; it preys upon the hard earnings of the poor; it plunders the ignorant and the simple, the bench also comprising R K Agrawal and Arun Mishra said.
The court’s judgement came on an appeal filed by All Kerala Online Lottery Dealers Association, Sikkim and others questioning the ban. Kerala government had banned all lotteries in January 2005. In April 2005, the order modified the notification that the prohibition on online lotteries would continue but sale of paper lotteries conducted by the state government would be permitted.
Both the single Judge and a Division Bench of the Kerala High Court had upheld the ban. The present appeals were filed against this order. The petitioners contended that the state did not have legislative competence to ban online lotteries alone while permitting sale of paper lotteries.