Kochi: The Kerala High Court has issued a notice to Indian cricket team captain Virat Kohli, actress Tamannaah, and Malayalam actor Aju Varghese over a petition filed against online rummy. The celebrities are the brand ambassadors of online rummy games.
Thrissur native Pauly Vadakkan had approached the High Court with a petition, seeking restrictions over the game.
The High Court has also sought an explanation from the state government. The government, IT department, Telecom Tegulatory Authority and the companies running online rummy have been made party to the case.
While filing the Public Interest Litigation (PIL), the petitioner had pointed out the death of a youth who had lost Rs 22 lakh by playing rummy. The petitioner further stated that gambling was a punishable offence, as per the Kerala Gaming Act 1960. However, there is no restriction online. The state government has to formulate a law against this.
Petitioner alleged online gambling is now a growing menace in the state and the primary targets will be middle to low income group people who will be enticed to make easy money.
People who fall to the fraud platforms often use what is left in their life savings, he said.
The petitioner said there have been many reported cases across the state in which people have got scammed.
These platforms endorsed by celebrities, including Kohli, Bhatia and Varghese, attract their audience with fake promises while in reality the probability of such winnings are slim to none, thus making a fool of unsuspecting people, the plea said.
The court sought the government's response within 10 days as it was convinced of the veracity in the case, the petitioner said.
Of late a spate of suicides by some youth in India have been blamed on rackets behind online loan apps that enable easy credit at high interest rates. Some among the victims had lost money in online rummy, but took recourse to the personal loan apps to shore up their finances or even to repay the loans.
They were reportedly harassed and shamed by the agents of the gangs running the apps after they had failed to repay. Gamblers are even enticed to get finance to continue playing online rummy.
In the plea, the petitioner noted that various High Courts, particularly the high courts of Gujarat and Tamil Nadu, have directed their respective jurisdictional state legislatures to explore the possibilities regulating online gaming.
In Andhra Pradesh, an ordinance has been promulgated to bring online gambling activities within the purview of the existing gaming legislation, the petitioner said.
The plea seeks a ban or to regulate and monitor online gambling games by framing laws that includes within its purview games that are conducted online by using electronic gadgets including mobile phone, computers, laptops and other communication devices.