Tamil Nadu To Re-Introduce Bill To Ban Online Gambling

Tamil Nadu To Re-Introduce Bill To Ban Online Gambling
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The Tamil Nadu Government will re-introduce its bill to ban online gambling after the state governor, RN Ravi, returned the first bill it had tabled. According to reports, the governor refused to provide assent to the bill as he believed the house (Tamil Nadu Legislative Assembly) did not have the "legislative competence" to table a bill that sought to ban online gambling across the country.

A cabinet meeting headed by Chief Minister MK Stalin decided to draw up a fresh draft of the Tamil Nadu Prohibition of Online Gambling and Regulation of Online Games Bill, which Governor Ravi had returned.

"The governor has said the house does not have the legislative competence to pass the bill, we will say the house has the competence to do this," said state law minister S Regupathy, "If any of our legislators have additional inputs to provide to the new bill, we will incorporate them."

The minister added that Tamil Nadu had the competence to enact a ban on online gambling across the country and would like to pioneer the legislation. "The legislation is being brought in keeping Entry 34 in the State List (Seventh Schedule of the Constitution of India)," he added.

The entry in question deals with gambling and betting. The earlier bill, which Governor Ravi returned, invoked provisions of entries 1, 6 and 33 as well, which deal with public order, public health, sports, entertainment and amusement respectively.

According to experts, Governor Ravi's returning of the bill is to do with inconsistencies of the drafting of the bill with Entry 33 on the State List, while the Government has insisted that Entry 34 on the State List empowers states to enact a ban on gambling should they see fit.

Citing a Madras High Court observation, the law minister pointed out that the court had asked the government to draft fresh legislation in relation to the ban. "The court has acknowledged that the legislature has the competence to bring in such legislation," he said, "So, our legislation was introduced in line with court observations."

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