The Supreme Court of India on 12th November deferred the hearing on the high profile rummy case filed by Mahalakshmi Cultural Association to the next date without hearing any argument on the subject. A change in the bench of judges is likely to happen to continue the proceedings on 26th November.
Earlier, a Supreme Court bench comprising of Justices FM Ibrahim Kalifulla and Shiva Kirti Singh had sought government’s views after hearing Dr. Abhishek Manu Singhvi and Kapil Sibal, senior counsels appearing for Head Infotech Pvt. Ltd. and Play Games 24×7 Pvt. Ltd (companies running real money online rummy websites Ace2Three and Rummycircle respectively). The judges wanted to gain broader views on constitutional and statutory implications such as the Public Gambling Act and Prevention of Money Laundering Act. However, Additional Solicitor General of India (ASG) L Nageswara Rao who appeared on behalf of the Union of India articulated that betting and gambling falls under the scope of state governments by virtue of entry 34 of List II (Seventh Schedule) of the Constitution of India. Mr. Rao then withdrew from this case as he had appeared forMahalakshmi Cultural Association in the past. Hence, Supreme Court listed the matter to be heard on 12th November asking a formal reply from Government of India.
The case filed two tears back in 2012 was initially heard by a bench comprising of Justices Kalifulla and Deepak Verma which passed an interim stay order on the Division Bench judgment of the Madras High Court in May 2012. In the course of hearings, Justice Shiva Kirti Singh replaced Justice Verma on the bench after his retirement.
All companies running online poker, rummy or similar games played with stakes will have an acute eye on the new bench of judges coming on 26th November as this case holds a very significant value in terms of legality of these games in India.