Poker legality under trials in Delhi High Court turns to Judge

Wed / January / 2018

The argument on the legality of poker has yet again begun and this time the debate is between Karan Mutha vs. Delhi High Court. It centers mainly on the topic of legality of offline poker. Karan is a resident of New Delhi who was recently arrested on 21st of September, 2016, during a police raid on a gambling house located in the Greater Kailash -1 area in New Delhi. He was accused of playing poker! Karan Mutha has filed a petition before the Delhi High Court against his arrest.

As per Karan’s report, a total of 7 people were arrested during a raid under the Section 3, 4 and 9 of the Delhi Public Gambling Act, 1955, which centers mainly on the legality of the mind sport of poker offline in a common gambling house. He made an argument that the police did not specify anything about the game being played in the premises, during their raid. Moreover, he added that since he was playing poker, he is not liable for being arrested because poker is a mind sport and a skill-based game. So, his analysis is that it should not come under the provisions of gambling act under Section 13, the Delhi Public Gambling Act, which is regardless of whether the game involves stakes or not.

Mutha further argued that when; on one hand Nagaland has legalized online skill based games, like poker. West Bengal and Karnataka have already recognized poker as a skill based game. And a lot of online websites throughout India, are hosting large poker tournaments which involves stakes, so he believes that it is unfair to criminalize the offline version of this game.

The petition further urges the high court to null and void the FIR and the criminal charges against Karan Mutha. Justice Mukta Gupta, later asked him to furnish any license that he may have to present before the court, this will allow him to involve into the offline poker on the first hearing of the case, which was held on 15th December, 2017.

Later the police were also asked to file an investigative report about the case. The court will remain adjourned against this petition for now, the next hearing will take place on 28th April, 2018.

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