Karnataka court upholds ban on lottery tickets


Bangalore : The Karnataka High Court Tuesday upheld the ban on sale of lottery tickets enforced by the state government since April 1.

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A division bench headed by Justice Jagannath lifted the interim suspension granted by the court's single judge on April 17 on a review petition filed by the state government in response to a public litigation.

The petitioners, including the Arunachal Pradesh government, the All-India Federation of Gaming and Allied Industries Lottery dealers, have said they would challenge the court's ruling in the Supreme Court.

The ban, which came into effect last month, was announced by state Deputy Chief Minister B.S. Yediyurappa as part of his budget proposals for the current fiscal (2007-08)) in mid-March.

The ban will result in a loss of Rs.2.5 billion to the state exchequer.

Lottery dealers staged protests against the ban in the city and have decided to approach the apex court for another stay on the grounds that such a ban would affect their jobs and livelihood of their families.

The petitioners claimed the notification, issued under section 5 of the Lottery (Regulation) Act was illegal, arbitrary, incapable of being enforced and also violative of the Constitution.

"The high court upheld the lottery ban to protect the socio-economic interests of its buyers, especially the poor and deprived whose livelihood was getting affected by the proliferation of lotteries of Karnataka and other states," a top official told IANS.

The state government has also decided to ban sale of arrack from July 1.

Earlier, Chief Minister H.D. Kumaraswamy directed the state advocate general to move the division bench after a single judge stayed the ban on all forms of tickets.

The ban on lotteries and sale of arrack was imposed following petitions by women organisations and social groups who felt both malaises were affecting the poor.

About 150,000 people across the state will be affected by the ban. The petitioners also contended the ban would render thousands of people jobless and feared the affected could take to other forms of gambling.