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High Court stays ban on other State lotteries

By Our Staff Reporter

KOCHI DEC. 19. A Division Bench of the Kerala High Court today restrained the State Government and the Director of Lotteries from suspending the sale of tickets of agents and distributors of online and paper lotteries of other States.

The Bench, comprising Justice Cyriac Joseph and Justice K. Padmanabhan Nair, also restrained the State Government and other respondents from enforcing the Rule 24(3) of the Kerala State Lotteries and Online Lotteries (Regulations) Rules 2003 asking the agents and distributors of online and paper lotteries of other States to obtain permission from the State Government.

The interim directives were issued while staying the verdict of a single judge upholding the provisions of the Rules. The appeals had been filed by the Meghalaya Government, the Indian Federation of Lottery Traders and the Allied Industries and other distributors.

The Bench made it clear that the order would not stand in the way of the State Government approaching the Union Government for taking action against the appellants under Section 6 of the Lotteries (Regulation) Act. Besides, the State Government could demand sales taxes due to it. The order did not prevent the Government from taking action against the appellants or their agents under the provisions of any other law.

The judge also observed that the rejection of appellant's applications seeking permission of the State Government would not stand in the way of doing the lottery business by the appellants.

The appellants had contended that the State Government had no power to impose restrictions as stipulated under the provisions of the 2003 Rules.

It was the Union Government which had been vested with such power. As per the provisions of the Lotteries Regulations Act, the State Government could recommend to the Union Government for banning or regulating any lotteries. No control or supervision over the lottery business of a State Government by another State Government had been envisaged by the Lottery (Regulation) Act.

The single judge, while dismissing a batch of writ petitions, had made it clear that lotteries other than the Kerala State lotteries could be sold only after obtaining permission from the Secretary, Taxes Department.

The single judge had held that Rule 24 gave the State Government authority to impose restrictions.

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