Friday, July 12, 2024

Plea in Delhi HC challenges Centre’s authority to regulate ‘online gaming’ menace through IT Rules

A Public Interest Litigation (PIL) has been filed in the Delhi High Court, contesting the constitutional validity of the Information Technology (Intermediary Guidelines and Digital Media Ethics Code) Amendment Rules, 2023 (IT Amendment Rules) concerning their applicability to the regulation of online gaming.

A division bench of Chief Justice Satish Chandra Sharma and Justice Sanjeev Narula, hearing the plea, asked Additional Solicitor General Chetan Sharma to provide assistance in the case and scheduled it for further consideration on July 13.

The petition was filed by Noida-based NGO Social Organisation for Creating Humanity, based in Noida, and represented by advocate Sakshi Tikmany. Advocate Akshat Gupta presented arguments on behalf of the petitioner.

In the plea, the petitioner said that there should not only be effective control and regulation of online games and gambling or betting activities but there should also be an effective mechanism for such regulatory measures and that the same should conform to the four corners of powers granted under the Constitution and other legislative provisions.

“The impugned rules neither conform to the constitutional provisions nor are effective to control online gaming activities which are growing in an untrammeled manner at an explosive pace, especially after lockdowns and the Covid-19 pandemic,” the plea said.

“Therefore, the exercise of power by the respondent in this manner, to enact and notify the impugned rules, which are ex-facie ultra vires the Constitution and the IT Act is against public interest, and a drain on the public exchequer, whilst, failing to effectively tackle the menace of online gambling, which has engulfed the nation’s youth,” it further read.

Consequently, the petitioner seeks a writ of certiorari or any other appropriate order to declare the IT Amendment Rules, 2023 as unconstitutional and beyond the scope of the Information Technology Act, 2000.

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