Karnataka HC nod to BTC for races, betting

In the order of rejection, the state government recorded that there were serious violations of the conditions of the licence, applicable statutes, and rules.
Karnataka HC nod to BTC for races, betting

BENGALURU: Staying the order passed by the state government, the Karnataka High Court on Tuesday permitted the Bengaluru Turf Club (BTC) to conduct all on-course and off-course racing and betting activities by adhering to the terms and conditions.

The government had passed the order rejecting the application filed by the BTC seeking licence to conduct races and betting activities from June to August 2024.

Passing an interim order subject to the final outcome of the petitions challenging the rejection of the licence considering alleged irregularities in BTC, Justice S R Krishna Kumar gave liberty to the state government to monitor, supervise and regulate racing and betting activities of the BTC.

The interim order was passed after hearing a batch of petitions filed by the BTC, Karnataka Racehorse Owners’ Association, Karnataka Trainers’ Association and Punters and Jockeys Associations questioning the order passed by the Additional Chief Secretary, Home Department, rejecting their application on June 6.

“It is relevant to note that by virtue of the impugned orders, the entire racing and betting activities of the petitioners, which were hitherto being carried on continuously for decades, has now come to a complete standstill resulting in irreparable hardship not only to the petitioners but also to the race horses who are lying idle without their regular racing activity, which would cause ailments, diseases etc.. This is sufficient to indicate that the balance of convenience is in favour of the petitioners,” the court observed.

The court, however, said it is significant to note that the majority of the allegations contained in the impugned orders are made against bookmakers, both licensed and unlicensed. The BTC has undertaken to cancel all bookmaker licences and not grant any more licences, the court added.

The application filed by the BTC under Rule 3 of the Mysore Race Course Licensing Rules, 1952, for seeking license to hold a race from June to August 2024 was rejected by the state government for allegedly violating the condition of the licence, rules and statutes, and illegal betting, constituting criminal activity in the premises of BTC.

In the order of rejection, the state government recorded that there were serious violations of the conditions of the licence, applicable statutes, and rules. Further, an investigation by the CCB is still pending and an investigation from the competent tax authority is necessary to quantify the tax evasion as well as recovery of evaded tax, along with applicable penalty, the state government stated in the order.

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