TN Governor Ravi Grants Assent to Bill Banning Online Gambling

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Tamil Nadu Governor R.N. Ravi on Monday, April 10, 2023, granted his assent to the re-adopted Tamil Nadu Prohibition of Online Gambling and Regulation of Online Games Bill, 2022 (L.A. Bill No. 53 of 2022). Chief Minister M.K. Stalin said the assent was a “good consequence” of the resolution on the Governor adopted by the Assembly earlier in the day. The Governor had earlier returned the Bill, following which the Assembly re-adopted it and sent it to the Raj Bhavan.

Sharing the news of the Governor’s assent to the Assembly at the end of the discussion on budgetary demands for a few departments on Monday, the Chief Minister said the law will be published in the Tamil Nadu Government Gazette on the same day.

He said the resolution passed by the Assembly pointed out how Tamil Nadu’s administration and the future of youngsters were being affected due to the pendency of many Bills, including the one on online rummy, which had been sent to the Governor for his assent. The resolution also noted the controversial opinions shared by the Governor in the public domain, he added.

The Governor had returned the Bill on March 6, saying it was ultra vires the Constitution and against the judgments of courts. The Bill was first adopted in the Assembly on October 19, 2022.

While reintroducing the Bill on March 23, the Chief Minister had recalled that it was drafted based on the recommendations of a committee headed by the retired Madras High Court judge, Justice Chandru, and the School Education Department; and consultations with others. Yet, the Governor returned the Bill after 131 days with some notes.

“The Bill was drafted not only with our intelligence but also with our heart. We may have political differences, which is natural. But anyone with a heart will not have two views on banning online gambling, which has been claiming lives. The State should not hear the cry of a person or a family. If it happens again it will amount to dilution of the meaning of law and the powers of the state. It is the duty of the government to maintain law and order and prevent crimes,” he had said.

The Chief Minister also recalled Union Minister for Information and Broadcasting Anurag Singh Thakur’s statement in Parliament (on March 21, 2023) that States were empowered to enact laws banning online gambling, under Section 34 of the 7th Schedule of the Constitution.

“I want to proclaim that we cannot keep aside our conscience and run the government. The object of any law is people’s welfare and their protection. Jurisprudence is a social science, and it will be accepted by legal experts across the world,” Mr. Stalin had said in March.

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